Express & Star

YouTube stars warned off own restaurant opening at Merry Hill shopping centre after fears over huge crowds

YouTube stars The Sidemen say they have been warned off attending their own restaurant opening at Merry Hill shopping centre after fears that as many as 10,000 people were forecast to turn up.

YouTubers The Sidemen

The group boast more than 130 million combined subscribers on YouTube and millions more followers across their various social media channels.

They were due to surprise fans at the opening of their fried chicken restaurant, Sides, at the Brierley Hill shopping centre tomorrow but Dudley Council said the scale of the event meant it would not be safe.

The group say the council has threatened legal action if any of the seven members make an appearance.

Jordan Schwarzenberger, manager of The Sidemen, said: “We have been asked to make it very clear that The Sidemen will definitely not be attending the West Midlands this weekend.

"The boys are obviously extremely disappointed to not share this moment with their fans and supporters but after speaking to the local authorities, public safety has to be our primary focus.

An artist impression of the restaurant in Merry Hill. Photo: The Sidemen

"We’re still incredibly proud to be opening in Merry Hill and creating 40 jobs for the local area, and the restaurant will still be opening on Saturday from 11am onwards.”

The restaurant at Merry Hill shopping centre is set to be the first Sides location to open outside of London.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “Dudley Council chairs a safety advisory group, working with partners including West Midlands Police, which prioritises the safety and wellbeing of people who live and work in our borough.

“Recently we were notified of an event that was proposed to take place this weekend at the Merry Hill centre.

“This was likely to attract significant numbers of people due to the celebrity status of some individuals who planned to make an appearance.

“Due to significant safety concerns, and the likelihood that such an event would attract more people than could be safely accommodated at the venue, we deemed the proposed event to be unsafe.

“As a result of these concerns being raised, the organisers have now taken the responsible decision to cancel the event.”

The Sidemen consist of of best friends Olajide "KSI" Olatunji, Simon "Miniminter" Minter, Joshua "Zerkaa" Bradley, Tobi "TBJZL" Brown, Ethan "Behzinga" Payne, Harry “W2S” Lewis, and Vikram "Vikkstar123" Barn.

The group recently made the headlines with their Sidemen charity match, which raised more than £2.4 million for charity and was watched by a sold out London Stadium as well as millions of people worldwide.