New T in the Park age ruling welcomed by Megan Bell’s dad

Megan Bell, 17, from Seaham, died at T in the Park in July 2016.
Megan Bell, 17, from Seaham, died at T in the Park in July 2016.

The father of a teenage girl who died at the T in the Park festival says organisers are taking the right step by raising the age limit for ticket holders.

But Chris Bell - whose 17-year-old Megan daughter died after attending the music event in July - has said the under 18 ban should be raised to 21.

Megan Bell's dad Chris.

Megan Bell's dad Chris.

The 44-year-old, from Seaham, has said allowing her to go with a group of friends after a good experience the year before is the “worst decision” he has ever made.

The grief he and his family face has been compounded by the fact they are still seeking answers for her death.

In the aftermath of Megan’s death, Chris called for festivals to raise their admission age to 21 and launched an online petition, which has been backed by more than 1,300 people.

Now T in the Park’s organisers DF Concerts have said they have decided to raise the age limit to 18 to keep disorder down, once the event makes a return after gap year, and also to its Trnsmt festival it is hosting in Glasgow this July.

It’s a step in the right direction, definitely, but I think it could go further.

Chris Bell

Car transporter driver Chris - who along with Lisa, 41, is a parent to Jenny, eight, and Maddy, 10, and brother Josh, 12 - said: “It’s a step in the right direction, definitely, but I think it could go further.

“I would like to talk to the organisers to discuss my concerns.

“Megan wasn’t supposed to go, but a ticket came up and she ended up going.

“I wish I’d not let her go both times, because at 16 or 17, you’re just a kid, but she was going as part of a group of about 30 or 40 other friends and you think they’re going to be safe, but they’re there without a mam or a dad.

Festivalgoers watch the main stage at T in the Park at Strathallan Castle, Perthshire, last year.

Festivalgoers watch the main stage at T in the Park at Strathallan Castle, Perthshire, last year.

“Letting her go was the worst decision I’ve ever made.

“I just hope this will serve as an example for other parents, because look what happened to Megan.

“Sixteen and 17-year-olds are not old enough, when you’re 21, you’re a lot older and there’s a big difference between those ages.

“It’s too much for kids, there are people taking drugs, there’s antisocial behaviour, there are much older people around.
“Maybe there should be age ratings for festivals as well, so T in the Park might be 21, but more family orientated ones such as Kendal Calling might be 15.”

The vigil held at the entrance to Seaham Marina held in July after Megan Bell's death.

The vigil held at the entrance to Seaham Marina held in July after Megan Bell's death.

Megan, who had attended St Anthony’s Catholic Girls’ Academy and was due to start an apprenticeship as a hairdresser, was one of four festival goers to die during July’s event.

An inquest review into her death heard the drug known as ecstasy was found in her system.

Her family say she did not take drugs.

They have launched Megan’s Rainbow Support Group alongside friends to offer people bereavement support and the families of children who have died financial support.

The petition can be signed via http://bit.ly/2aJNQZO

Part of the T in the Park campsite last year, when four visitors died after attending the event.

Part of the T in the Park campsite last year, when four visitors died after attending the event.