Seaham Dad calls for change to festival attendance age after daughters death

A Seaham dad has started a petition to raise the festival attendance age after his daughter, 17 year-old Megan Bell, died when attending music festival T in the Park last summer.

Chris Bell, 45, who is self-employed, began the petition to raise the age limit for festivals throughout the UK after his daughter, Megan, died at the Strathallan’s festival. It was her second time attending the weekend event.

Mr Bell said: “I started the petition when I found out that there was open drug and alcohol use that underage kids were vulnerable to. Obviously there was a bit of resentment towards what I was trying to achieve but once I explained people understood.”

The petition, which asks to raise the age limit to 21 for music festivals, has gained over 1000 signatures.

He continued: “My worry was that kids could be subjected to violence, sexual assaults, drugs and alcohol without having the protection of a responsible adult. When you are only say 15-17 years old you’re not always wise to the world.”

T in the Park, which has been running since 1994, has released a statement saying that this summer’s festival is to be cancelled due to wildlife issues.

Chris believes more needs to be done instead of cutting corners: “I think only because of what has happened, things have to and will change. But organisers need to implement the changes and the police need to be tougher.

I believe that organisers, like the ones at T in the Park, need to meet with parents, who have lost young kids and structure a safer place for people to enjoy themselves instead of just wanting things to be bigger and better.”

Dane Cobain, now 22, from Gateshead attended Download festival for his sixteenth birthday. He said: “It felt like an adventure and was fun, although I did feel young compared to other festival-goers. Looking back now, it doesn’t seem appropriate for a group of kids to camp at an event like that.”

“There’s so much to consider and so much trouble that you could get into.  I suspect that most under-21s wouldn’t have enough life knowledge and be street smart enough to look after themselves” Mr Cobain continued.

In the aftermath of Megan’s death her family created a charity to help other families who have gone through the same thing called Megan’s Rainbow Support Group.

To sign the petition visit https://www.change.org/p/alex-wilson-raise-age-limit-to-21-for-music-festivals.

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