Insecurity, violence and arrests – Smukfest regrets after Bieber chaos: ‘Very unfortunate’

Want to listen to the article?

Buy a Digital Plus subscription and listen immediately.

Want to listen to the article?

Buy a Digital Plus subscription and listen immediately.

On Wednesday night, there was a lot of commotion and chaos at Smukfest, when the approximately 50,000 festival-goers wanted to leave the square after Justin Bieber’s concert.

Several people reported fainting and violence against volunteers, when the human chaos came to a standstill due to cordons, as several had chosen to walk on the roads rather than take the shuttle buses to the camping areas.

Therefore, traffic had to be slowed down, which in turn worsened the congestion.

“Unfortunately, we found out that some of our guests did not follow our instructions and broke through our barriers and started going out on Horsensvej,” explains Thomas Rydahl, head of security at Smukfest.


According to a guest at the festival, it was an unpleasant experience to come from Wednesday's concerts.  People tried to climb over the fence and took to the roads to get home.  Photo: Private

According to a guest at the festival, it was an unpleasant experience to come from Wednesday’s concerts. People tried to climb over the fence and took to the roads to get home. Photo: Private

show more

The riot unfortunately ended in several episodes of violence against the festival’s volunteers, confirms the security manager to BT

“It is true that we have volunteers out here who have been spat on, beaten up, had things thrown at them, because they are really just trying to help our guests get home safely from here. I am very sorry that it happened that way.’

Smukfest’s spokesperson Søren Eskildesen also assures that the given volunteers have been identified and have received help.

However, the police were not called in to any of the incidents inside the square, deputy inspector for the Southeast Jutland Police, Stig Simonsen, tells BT


Canadian Justin Bieber closes the beech stages at Smukfest, Skanderborg, on Wednesday 3 August 2022.

Canadian Justin Bieber closes the beech stages at Smukfest, Skanderborg, on Wednesday 3 August 2022.
Photo: Helle Arensbak

show more

But he can confirm that there was a single episode stemming from the queue chaos that got the police involved.

“We dealt with a few police-wise. There was a bit of a crowd at the buses after the concert. There was someone who couldn’t figure out how to behave properly that we detained,’ explains Stig Simonsen.

Head of security Thomas Rydahl can elaborate that it was about three people who had their wristbands clipped to the festival at the same time.

“It was someone who chose not to comply with what was said at all, even when they got help from our good partners in the police. It ended with them being arrested by the police, and with that they also had their wristbands cut off, because it bordered on violence against our volunteers.’


Canadian Justin Bieber closes the beech stages at Smukfest, Skanderborg, Wednesday, August 3, 2022. (Photo: Helle Arensbak/Ritzau Scanpix)

Canadian Justin Bieber closes the beech stages at Smukfest, Skanderborg, Wednesday, August 3, 2022. (Photo: Helle Arensbak/Ritzau Scanpix)
Photo: Helle Arensbak

show more

In addition, several festival guests have reported to BT that people passed out in the cramped crowds.

However, security manager Thomas Rydahl has not received any feedback about this.

“But it’s clear that with the humidity and heat, it can feel really uncomfortable, so there are some guests who have had an unpleasant experience, and I deeply regret that,” says the security manager.

From Smukfest’s side, however, they are convinced that similar chaos will not occur again.

“Now people have landed, and the music program is designed accordingly, so we will see a different level of activity,” explains security manager Thomas Rydahl, who is supported by spokesperson Søren Eskildsen.

“We have a clear expectation that a similar starting situation on the square will not apply in the next few days. We had a very, very big concert that ended, and all the people were tired and wanted to go home after that.’

The police also explain that the evening went “within what we can expect with so many people and a lot of alcohol.”

Therefore, the solution is also the same if problems should again arise with festival guests who take the trip home on foot on the road and slow down the festival guests’ way away from the square.

“But of course we have an extra focus on maintaining our shuttle bus operation, and if we can’t, then we have to offer our guests that they will have to walk instead,” concludes Smukfest’s security manager.

Leave a Comment