Room For Manchester: Our Hearts Go Out To Those Affected

Most of us woke to the news of the horrific events at last night’s Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. 

As someone who writes about music on a daily basis, it’s affected me deeply, to think that someone would do this.

To deliberately go out of their way to destroy the lives of not just those killed or wounded, but also everyone else in attendance, their families, friends, neighbours…Ariana Grande herself was profoundly shaken by the attack, even though she was well off the stage by the time of the explosion.

I personally know people who have been to Ariana’s shows on this tour, in other cities. I might even know people who were there in Manchester last night. It makes you think. It could happen to anyone. But by the same token, it can just as easily not happen.

We go to concerts to escape. To take a step away from the outside world. Music is one of those things that helps a lot of us deal with what’s going on in the wider world, to give us a feeling of release and freedom. We go to concerts to have fun, to be with our friends, to enjoy ourselves, to enjoy our favourite artists.

These sorts of attacks are acts of cowardice. They don’t discriminate on the basis of race, creed or gender. The names of the dead, wounded, and missing include those from every walk of life. Manchester is an extremely multicultural city – in 2013 it was declared to be the most linguistically diverse city in Western Europe, with as many as 200 different languages spoken on its streets. Manchester is a proud city, and wonderfully, as soon as news broke of the explosion last night, a hashtag rose up on Twitter – #RoomForManchester – with people offering beds, food, blankets, even just a shoulder to cry on.

Many hotels opened up their doors for those affected. A branch of the Holiday Inn, nearby to the venue, took in around 60 children who had been separated from their parents. Taxi drivers gave free lifts home, and people from as far away as Liverpool offering to come and ferry people to their homes.

This is how it should be. The people who commit such atrocities do it in the hope that we will be frightened, be scared to continue doing what we did before. When we are fearful, we don’t fight. It’s important that we keep on keeping on. Life must go on. – Lisa

Our writer Laurabeth Evans regularly attends concerts in Manchester. She shares with us how she feels about last night:

Seeing the pictures of the teenagers missing front the concert in Manchester last night is haunting. 
The image is vivid in my mind. You’re all smiles, sweating maybe from the body heat of over a thousand people standing like sardines next to each other. A shoulder rubbing up against you, attached to an arm holding its side. You’re unaware, flapping your arms in the air and closing your eyes, letting the slow moving mist from the smoke machines, brush over you.
You’re enjoying yourself in the new top your mum got you for your birthday. Your phone vibrates, it’s your mum hoping you’re having a good time and to stay safe in the big city and stay with friends.
You’re with friends but you’re also with someone else, someone whose voice you don’t recognise or eyes you’ve never met until tonight. Sweat beads across your skin, it’s hot now. Your eyeliner is smudged a little in the corners. You pull your hoodie off and wrap it around your waist. You look up. Something warm splashes your cheeks. The music has stopped.
Ringing. All you can hear is this horrible sound of ringing in your ears. You turn to your right to look at your friends. They’re gone. You were holding her hand just a few seconds ago. You touch your cheek, screaming at your blood stained hands. Your eyes bulging whilst your lips are spitting out your friend’s name.
I’ve been to concerts, many. That’s my job as a music writer. I cover bands and artists playing to a crowd that love them. I am also right there with those who lost their lives last night. Losing anyone, no matter what age is heartbreaking and in such a violent way is horrific.
This brings me back to my first concert at the M.E.N arena. My mum had brought me to see Gareth Gates, I was about 10 maybe? She was standing right next to me.
What a selfish person to do that. Those people were loved and needed, how dare that suicide bomber think they have the right to take away another’s life.
More security against people that can hurt others by bombs, knifes etc and less on searching through your handbags for sweets you’ve bought from Tesco because they’re cheaper.
It’s wrong that these terrorists make some of us feel as though we can’t live, dream or hope for an amazing future. – Laurabeth

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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