It was in no way my intention to start my journal with such an emotional post, but I need to just share my thoughts without having to physically speak about it.
I was in my room, as per usual, at around 11pm when my friend, Josh, tweeted about an “incident” that had happened at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester. I checked it out and saw Twitter had made a moment with different tweets, early news reports and panicked fans tweeting out videos of what was happening. At first, it was just rumoured that a giant helium balloon had burst following the finale of Grande’s set, but when I saw a news reporter say he could see some fans covered in blood along with hundreds of emergency services rushing to the scene following the reports of an explosion.
I ran downstairs and put BBC News on to see BREAKING across the screen and news reporters live at the scene. It was still really early on and nobody knew what was going on. Many were hoping and praying it was an electrical explosion because God help if it was what any of us feared it would be.
As a massive music supporter, I live and breathe the life of being a fan. I support a number of artists passionately. I’ve made friends around the globe; many whom I have met in person, been supportive of every project they do and of course, attended the concerts. For me, my entire year is a countdown to the next concert I attend. I love to plan the whole day of the event. When I’ll meet friends, seeing what fan projects are taking place, what I’ll wear, seeing whether or not I’ll be staying at a hotel and sorting things out for there, too. I know the feeling of that adrenaline high when the artist has left the stage and though it’s a bit sad the show is over, you’re still feeling that rush running through your entire body and the energy is oh so high in the venue. Your mind is buzzing with excitement as you try and find your way outside to meet with other people and embark on your journey from the concert. I’ve often heard funny noises leaving that kind of environment and being a jumpy and anxious person, I always assume the worst, but so far every unusual noise I’ve experience has proven to be nothing but equipment. I cannot fathom the kinds of vibes and thoughts of the people in Manchester Arena that night when they realised it was a dangerous situation and they had to get out as soon as possible.
With many Twitter friends, I was fully aware that many of my followers were in attendance of the concert as well as real life friends who actually live in Greater Manchester. I kept the news on and was glued to social media now more than ever. I saw tweets of parents, friends, family desperately trying to find people. I felt sick. Moments later, I saw a post about someone taking over 50 unaccompanied minors to a local hotel but not many people on social media were sharing that vital information. I have a lot of friends on Facebook and friends have friends who have friends. I decided to make a public status with the information and urged every single person who saw it to share it. More and more helpful information was being released but for every one tweet with information, about five more were about people missing. With the sheer worry and concern following the events and knowing all too well how a fandom of a pop culture artist works, I made the subconscious decision to stay up all night, make a thread of all the information and urge every person I knew to share it along with tweeting it to individuals who were in great need of it but nobody giving it to them. I spoke to numerous individuals and helped update them with promised details of emergency numbers to find missing people. Knowing that what they were experiencing was at a kind of event I know oh too well made me realise that I would absolutely need someone’s guidance if it were me. I know I would have wanted someone helping me, so I felt it would only be right if I offered the help I would only hope for.
As the news announced rapid increases of fatalities and injured concertgoers, the night grew more and more heavy. The adrenaline was rubbing off to many of us who were trying to help – from celebrities to social media accounts with big followings and just individuals who wanted to help some how, it was bitter sweet to see the human race pulling together, regardless of differences. In a fanbase where the majority of teenagers, there is a lot of rivalry and competition, but at the end of the day we all know what it’s like to live a lifestyle surrounded by our passions and to see everyone just become one is a beautiful concept. Because the human race, we are capable of this kind of thing and most of us do have a heart – whether worn on our sleeves or deep down in our soul. It’s just heart-wrenching to know that the minority of who we are have this kind of impact and capabilities to create such a despicable act.
I know that both the real world and digital world mourned today as we wore heavy hearts and shared thoughts of sorrow following what has happened. To be reminded that these dangers are oh so very real in our world where we live in and nobody, not even children, are ever truly safe. A concert such as Ariana’s is meant to be a safe, family-friendly place. Nobody should ever attend a concert, only to never be able to come home. The pain I feel right now is horrible, but I know it’s not even half as much as the friends, family and loved ones of the victims at that tragic affair.
“Hoping for better days”