Last week Leeds Student Radio were offered a table to review the Bongo’s Bingo Oktoberfest Special at South Bank Depot, not far from the event’s usual home at Canal Mills. We arrived to the raucous party you’d expect from the famously fun night, the only difference was that everything – the crowd, the drinks, the prizes – were twice the normal size. However, the normality wasn’t to last and the debaucherous fun that we had anticipated slowly descended into chaos, and not the good kind.
After giving out prizes, including a giant inflatable pretzel; a cardboard cutout of Einstein; and, of course, “cash cash money”, a steady stream of people began to get kicked out. Arguably, with large numbers of drunk people, this is to be expected. , Bbut as the night went on the trickle became a flood. The bouncers began to remove more and more people for increasingly less apparent reasons. LSR saw them selecting people seemingly at random and escorting them out. By the time the final prize of £750 had been given out, the place was a mess. In the short walk from our table to the door we were surrounded by rugby tackles and chokeholds.
Outside, LSR witnessed a bouncer punch a man – who was defenceless on the floor and outnumbered four to one – in the face. Our reviewers called him out on this behaviour, and were subsequently kicked out. The bouncers, spoiling for a fight, desperately tried to get us to hit them. “You swing first” they pleaded, hoping to be able to use force against us. We informed a bouncer that we had been asked to review the event and his response was to immediately square up to us. He said that we had no right to request his ID number, what company he worked for or to check his security license and told us that we had to contact the police for any of this information. This is not true. One of our group began to film the chaos, and his phone was instantly slapped out of his hand by a member of security very keen not to be caught on camera. The phone hit the concrete with enough force to remove the case and the bouncer refused to show us his ID number, actively hiding it from us.
We left soon after this with a stream of verbal abuse ringing in our ears. What had had the potential to be a great, super-sized night of Bongo’s Bingo had left us with a bitter taste in our mouths – and we were the lucky ones.
Due to security being the responsibility of the venue, and not of Bongo’s Bingo, South Bank Depot are looking into the CCTV footage of the event.