Gore Farm House, Hannington, Swindon, England, SN6 7SZ
Witness statement for incident in August 2021
Dear Sir/s,To the best of my recollection of the events that took place on that evening:
A number of people gathered around the fire to the north west area of the main stage. The time was approximately 9pm, but I cannot be certain. However it was dark at that stage.
We were gathered around a large fire which was built in a slight depression around 4 meters in a circular format. The fire was large and took up roughly 2 meters in diameter of the space, leaving around 1 to 2 meters of sand area demarcating the perimeter before the edge of grass.
People were seated and standing just on the grass to the edge of the firepit. There were perhaps 100-150 people standing or seated in the area and completely surrounding the fire.
JoJo was in the firepit area. She was basically walking around the fire and saying prayers into the fire and calling on the people to take part, or voicing the prayers to the people surrounding the fire. The music and the atmosphere was pretty high intensity and electric and loud. She was joined by another gentleman who I did not recognise who was beating on a drum and also calling out vocally. I had been with her in the lead up to the incident and she had not been drinking or had not consumed any chemical substances.
I was well placed to witness the entire event as I was drumming with my drum on a strap in the firepit to one side.
There was another person, who I imagine was the fire keeper. He entered the firepit every few minutes to tend to the fire by adding logs. He didn't really feature much in the activities but was present like I said every few minutes.
At the time of the incident JoJo was standing to my left, around 2 meters away facing towards the fire, with a direct line downhill towards the main stage. I was just to her right hand side. I was luckily well placed when she ended up in the fire. It's difficult to tell whether she fell, or tripped. She couldn't have been pushed as there was no-one behind her. At the moment of the incident, I have no idea if the other vocal drummer gentleman was in the firepit as I don't recall where he was. The firekeeper was not present at that time. As far as I am aware I was the only person present in the firepit besides JoJo. Luckily I was in a perfect placement as when she fell she landed not more than a meter in front of me, all I had to do was lean forward and grab her.
The whole incident took no more than a few seconds. After I grabbed her, other people joined me and took her to the side of the area and lay her down on the grass where we proceeded to offer her as best care as we could and notify the festival stewards of the incident after which the paramedics took over.