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Deaths at Astroworld Concert Raise Questions of Concert Safety

large audience

On November 5th ten people, the youngest a nine-year-old festival goer who was placed in a medically induced coma that succumbed just yesterday, were killed and several more injured at the Astroworld Music Festival in Houston, Texas. The music festival’s main headliner, Travis Scott, who was scheduled to headline at the Day N Vegas festival this past weekend, was blamed for encouraging rowdy crowds, and failing to stop his performance as chaos ensued in the audience. [1] As grieving fans and family members search for answers, the event emphasizes the importance of event safety in large venues as well as raises questions regarding liability in such situations as well as if event or recreational waivers are enforceable.

Las Vegas is no stranger to large concerts and high-capacity venues such as the MGM Grand Garden Arena, T-Mobile Arena, and Allegiant Stadium; furthermore, the whole world remembers the tragic events of of the 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival. Considering that many of these venues can hold up to 65,000 people, the chance of injury is high and precautions must be put in place.

Staying Safe in Large Venues

The following are some things to consider when in a place with a lot of people:

  1. Stay Sober and Alert: Drinking and the use of other substances is common at many large festivals or sporting events. While doing so legally and responsibly is ok, it can also reduce your inhibitions and cause you to make stupid decisions or lose awareness of your surroundings. This can also make it harder for you to react or notice if something is going wrong around you.
  2. Make a Plan: It is likely that you may get separated from your group in large crowds, so it is important to designate a place to meet up afterwards. This can decrease panic if you get lost or separated. In addition, do not depend on text or calling since you may not have service or may lose your phone. If more people make a plan, it can reduce group panic and reduce the chance of a stampede occurring.
  3. Notice your Surroundings: Familiarize yourself with emergency exits, emergency supplies, nearby medical tents, emergency services, etc. These key locations can help in case of an emergency.
  4. Don’t break the Law/Rules: While this seems self explanatory, being in large crowds can be exciting and may drive some to break the rules. While it may seem harmless, venues have rules for a reason and with your safety in mind. If many people choose not to follow the rules, the consequences can be deadly. Familiarize yourself ahead of time to avoid being turned away or kicked out, and if someone with you is kicked out, make a plan to meet up afterwards.

Safety Tips in the Event of a Stampede

Jim Tidwell, a crowd management trainer, says that the most important thing to do if involved in a stampede is to stay calm. Panicking will muddle your train of thought and can cause you to act irrationally and put yourself in more danger. He suggests that you keep your arms at chest level to protect you rib cage from being crushed and help you breathe normally. He also suggests to go in the same direction as the rest of the crowd. Fighting a crowd can waste your energy and increases your chance of being knocked off balance. Avoid being near walls, fences, or any other barriers. This increases your chance of getting crushed and limits range of motion. Lastly, most deaths in stampedes are a result of asphyxiation. The chance of this can be decreased by breath control and avoiding screaming or talking too much. [2]

Also remember stampedes are limited to only concerts or sporting venues.  We’ve detailed several posts in the past relating to the phenomenon of shopping stampedes; this is a good reminder as Black Friday and the holiday shopping season is right around the corner.

For additional tips on staying safe at these events or in the event of a stampeded , view our Guide to Staying Safe At Concerts and Sporting Event Arenas.

Seeking Compensation After Injury

If you are injured in such an event, you have the right to seek compensation. Venues are legally required to provide a safe environment to event-goers, and the event should be safe. Being injured or losing a loved one in such an unexpected manner can result in financial, emotional, and physical hardships. Contacting a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your situation and the next steps you can take to receive the financial compensation you deserve.

[1] https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2021/11/09/something-more-than-simple-negligence-fbi-joins-investigation-on-deadly-incident-at-astroworld-festival/

[2] https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20211108/experts-crowd-safety-techniques-should-have-prevented-stampede-that-killed-2-naperville-men

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