Organisers of AJ Tracey gig fined £10,000 for breaching Covid rules

Jedidajah Otte and Vikram Dodd
·3-min read
Photograph: Joe Maher/Getty Images
Photograph: Joe Maher/Getty Images

The rapper AJ Tracey said he “didn’t expect that many people to turn up” after huge crowds gathered in a park in Manchester to see him perform.

The organisers of the event on Sunday in Platt Fields park in the suburb of Fallowfield “have been fined”, the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said on Twitter.

Greater Manchester police have now confirmed that a £10,000 fixed penalty notice has been issued to the organiser for breaching coronavirus legislation, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Photos and video footage show hundreds of people standing around basketball courts inside the park.

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The Brit award-nominated west London hip-hop star had posted an invite on Twitter on Sunday that read: “Next stop manny! Come link me Platt Fields Car Park 4pm.”

Tracey was photographed posing for pictures and thanked his fans for “turning out” in a video posted to his official Twitter page after the event, before conceding that further planned events were “not safe”.

The rapper was reportedly in Birmingham earlier, and had planned to visit Bristol later on Sunday. He is promoting his current album, Flu Game.

“Big love Manny [Manchester] and Brum [Birmingham], thank you for coming out. […] It’s not going to be safe for me to come to Bristol. I didn’t expect that many people to turn up in Manny and genuinely, yeah man, this is not okay for me to go ahead. I’m gonna head home to London,” he said in the clip.

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“I’ll be back when it’s safe to do so, sorry guys,” he added in a later tweet.

Current coronavirus legislation stipulates that organisers of illegal large-scale gatherings can be fined up to £10,000.

Elsewhere things appeared to pass off reasonably smoothly as the first full weekend of greater freedoms in England saw few if any problems for police forces. One said they issued fewer fines, as the easing of restrictions meant there were less pandemic rules for people to fall foul of.

A spokesperson for GMP said: “There has been a huge decline in the number of FPNs issued by GMP this weekend, which reflects the easing of restrictions and the compliance of the public. One of the changes to restrictions was the reopening of licensed premises, and we were really pleased that we didn’t have to issue any FPNs to licensed premises across Greater Manchester as they all approached the reopening with safety and caution.

“Unfortunately, we did have a large gathering at Platt Fields park, where police intervention was needed due to the large amount of people in attendance. A fine was issued to the organiser and the crowd was dispersed.”

In Derbyshire, home to a plethora of beauty spots, extra officers were on duty in case of problems. A spokesperson for Derbyshire police said: “We didn’t experience any significant incidents over the weekend. We did have additional officers on duty as we expected to see a rise in people visiting beauty spots and of course licensed premises but on the whole, people took the opportunity to enjoy the sunny weekend responsibly.”

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