Concert Personal Injury Event

Concert Personal Injury Event:  The 10 Worst Concert Disasters In The Last 50 Years


1.  The Who Stampede At Riverfront Coliseum

“We didn’t call it festival seating.  We called it animal seating, because when they came in, they came in like a herd of cattle.”- A Riverfront Coliseum Employee and witness of the concert personal injury event.

Riverfront Coliseum in the 1970s was known for letting crowds run way out of control and only began enforcing safety regulations after a tragic concert personal injury event.

It has been 35 years since the concert personal injury event at Riverfront Coliseum during a Who concert.  Eleven fans died during this stampede and eighty others were seriously injured in the crush.  The concert personal injury event occurred when the crowd raced in to see The Who perform.

The concert personal injury event occurred because the general-admission ticketing policy for concerts at Riverfront Coliseum in the 1970s was known as “festival seating.”

Festival seating had already been eliminated at many similar venues in the United States by 1979, yet the system remained in place at Riverfront Coliseum despite a dangerous incident at a Led Zeppelin show two years earlier.

Under general-admission ticketing, as many as 7,000 fans attending The Who concert rushed to secure first-come, first-served spots at the edge of the stage. As many as 14,770 of these so-called festival-style tickets had been sold for the Cincinnati performance at $10 each.  Nearly 15,000 tickets were sold, with only 3,575 reserved seats.City Councilman Jerry Springer stated that 16 doors were open between 7:15pm and 7:30pm.  The Coliseum had 134 doors that could be opened.

The 25 police officers assigned to keep order were helpless since only the Coliseum’s security staff had the authority to open more doors.

Waiting fans heard the band warming up and stormed the building, thinking the concert had begun.

For nearly an hour, people were jammed together up against the glass doors, unable to move or, in some cases, even breathe. At 7:30, partway through the bedlam, a police lieutenant asked the Coliseum manager to open additional doors but was told there were no more ticket takers available.  The refused to open more doors.

Afraid of how the crowd might react to a cancellation, Cincinnati fire officials instructed the promoters to go on with the show, and the members of the Who were not told what had happened until after completing their final encore hours later.

The tragedy’s effect on rock and on the Who was immediate and long-lasting. A ban on festival seating started in Cincinnati and quickly spread to other rock venues; today the policy is virtually extinct. The Who were stunned when told after the show about the deaths and injuries, dedicated the next night’s concert to the victims.

In the weeks after the concert, families of the dead and injured filed 33 lawsuits against The Who; the promoter, Philadelphia-based Electric Factory Concerts; the city of Cincinnati; and coliseum management. The suits claimed negligence and sought more than $100 million in damages. All were settled out of court by July 1984 for a total of $2.1 million, plus an undisclosed sum for the family of one victim, 18-year-old Peter Bowes of Wyoming. No case ever went to trial, and no one was ever charged with a crime.

2.  Callejeros Nightclub Bursts Into Flames

This tragic concert personal injury event could have been prevented in a number of different ways. Emergency exits at a nightclub packed with teenagers were padlocked or wired shut when a flare ignited the foam ceiling.  The flare started a blaze that killed 175 people and injured more than 700 in one of Argentina’s worst disasters.

“Someone from the crowd tossed a flare and there were immediately flames,” said 22-year-old Fabian Zamudeo. “Parts of the roof started falling down in flames and people started running, knocking over the speakers and light stands. People were choking on smoke and I tried to push as many people out as I could.”

At least 175 people have died in a fire that tore through a crowded nightclub in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.

A 22-year-old who gave his name only as Andres said surging crowds pushed their way toward the club’s six exits but found some of them would not open.

“Once the fire erupted, everyone ran for the doors, but there was only one very narrow one open at the exit closest to us. Another wider door next to it was locked,” he said of the concert personal injury event.

More than 619 others were injured when the fire broke out late on Thursday, city officials said.

Seven members of the Callejeros rock band were convicted Wednesday in the deaths of 194 people in a nightclub fire.

3.  Love Parade Music Festival

The Love Parade was a popular electronic dance music festival and parade that originated in 1989 in West Germany.  German media reported that as many as 1.4 million people showed up to the Love Parade on the day the Love Parade concert personal injury event occurred.

Throngs of techno fans followed the floats, the dancers and the throbbing music to the festival venue, which was an old freight railway station that local media estimated could handle 300,000 people.

The only entrance to the festival grounds in Duisburg was a tunnel, which proved to be too narrow for the number of visitors.  This tunnel is where the concert personal injury event occurred.

On July 24 2010, 21 people died and over 500 were injured at the Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany.  The people who lost their lives died because they were crushed in a mass panic and suffocated.  Over 500 people were injured.

Throngs of techno fans followed the floats, the dancers and the throbbing music to the festival venue: an old freight railway station that local media estimated could handle 300,000 people.

Ten people have been charged over the deaths of 21 people in a stampede at Germany’s Love Parade music festival.

The then mayor of Duisburg, Adolf Sauerland, was forced to step down after a 2012 city referendum, accused of having ignored warnings that the venue was too small.

Four staff of the music festival organizer Lopavent and six members of the administration in the western city of Duisburg have been charged.

They are accused of negligent manslaughter and causing bodily harm.

4.  David Cassidy Concert Crush at White City

A deadly gate stampede occurred at White City Stadium in London in 1974, causing a David Cassidy concert personal injury event.  On May 26, 1974, 650 were injured in a crush at the front of the stage. Thirty were taken to the hospital.

14-year-old Bernadette Whelan, was fatally injured at his White City concert personal injury event.  Many of the fans were out of control and Whelan was among many fans taken from the stadium by ambulance to a nearby hospital.  She managed to stay alive for four days before dying.

Cassidy said he had no idea that one of his fans was carried out of the concert on the night he performed.

When David Cassidy first heard about the death of Bernadette Whelan, he was told that she had gone to the concert with a known heart problem and she suffered a heart attack during the excitement of the concert. However, while doing research for his autobiography in 1991, Cassidy discovered that she died of traumatic asphyxia and had been crushed to death by the crowd. 

5.  Great White Night Club Fire

On Feb. 20, 2003, during a Great White show at the Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, 100 people lost their lives and over 200 were injured in a fire caused by the band’s pyrotechnic display.

During the show’s opening number, the band’s road manager, Daniel Biechele, set off the pyrotechnics, as planned. The sparks unexpectedly ignited the foam used for soundproofing the ceiling of the club. The flames spread quickly, engulfing the club, and claiming the lives of many of those trying to escape.

Owners of the nightclub have said they did not know the band planned to use fireworks, but Great White lead singer Jack Russell said, “Our tour manager set that up with the club.”

In the end, over 100 people were killed in this concert personal injury event at the Rhode Island nightclub.  At least 187 injured people were taken to nearby hospitals.

Fire Chief Charlie Hall said because the wooden structure was small and was built before 1976, it was not required to have a sprinkler system. But when asked if one would have helped the situation, he said, “If there were sprinklers in this building, we wouldn’t be here right now.”

After the fire, more than 200 relatives of victims and survivors joined together in filing a lawsuit, citing dozens of defendants including the state, club owners, the leader of the band Great White and a fire inspector.  As of August 2008, nearly $175 million in settlement has been paid to or offered to the families of the victims of the fire by various defendants.

6.  Sugarland Stage Collapse At Indiana State Fair

The main stage collapsed on a crowd waiting for a Sugarland performance Saturday night at the Indianapolis fair after being blasted by winds as strong as 60 to 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Parts of the grandstand stage swayed and collapsed shortly before 9 p.m., about 30 minutes after “Love Song” singer Sara Bareilles finished her opening set.  Seven people were crushed to death when the stage crashed to the ground.  More than 40 other people at the concert were injured.

Rescue crews and fairgoers swarmed the scene of the stage collapse and began working to save those trapped in the wreckage. Complicating matters, heavy rain and winds estimated as high as 60 mph hit the area immediately following the collapse.

After the accident, the lead singer of the country band, Jennifer Nettles, expressed her horror in a statement to Associated Press, saying there were “no words to process a moment of this magnitude and gravity.”

Governor Mitch Daniels on Sunday called the deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair a “freakish accident.”

The state of Indiana has settled with 63 of 65 claimants following the Aug. 13 stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair, which killed seven Sugarland fans in attendance.

This suit is one of several stemming from the tragedy.  It was the first suit settled.  Sugarland was named in another lawsuit, along with producers, stage riggers and others associated with the show, for neglecting to call the show off despite dangerous weather conditions.

7.  A1 Concert Stampede

Hundreds of young girls flocked to a popular shopping center in Jakarta, Indonesia to hear the British boy band group, A1, perform at a third-floor music store.  Witnesses said the band performed without a stage.

Four teenage girls were crushed to death at the performance by A1 at a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia.  The crush happened after about 1,500 fans turned up at a record store in the Taman Anggrek shopping centre to see the group.

Security guards at the shopping mall said panic broke out when fans tried to escape the crush by rushing to the mall’s exits.

The four band members were ”devastated” after the concert personal injury event and canceled the rest of their tour in Asia.

8.  Burned During Burn Performance

Hundreds of people were gathered together in the Santika nightclub in Bangkok, Thailand.  They were celebrating the coming of a new year on January 1st, 2009 and enjoying the music of the band “Burn.”

Band singer Saravuth Ariya has been charged with setting off the fireworks that police believe sparked the blaze.

The fire broke out in the packed club as about 1,000 people were celebrating the start of the new year.

Hundreds of people were trapped inside the building, which had no proper fire exits, no sprinkler system and no emergency lights.

67 people who had gone to the club to welcome in the new year died in the blaze.

Survivors described how flames tore through the two-storey club, causing the ceiling to collapse and bury revellers in the rubble inside one of the city’s top nightclubs.

“We were all dancing and suddenly there was a big flame that came out of the front of the stage and everybody was running away,” Benjamas said. “There was an explosion and people started running for the doors and breaking the windows.”

Club owner Wisuk Sejsawat, the lighting effects company and its executive were found guilty by a lower court in 2011 of causing the deaths of people without intent, and Wisuk was sentenced to three years in prison.  Eventually, the Bangkok Appeals Court ruled that Wisuk was not directly responsible for the blaze and dismissed the charges against him.

The Appeals Court upheld the lower court’s ruling that the lighting effects company should pay 8.7 million baht ($279,000) in compensation to the victims or their families and sentenced its executive to three years’ imprisonment.

9.  AC/DC  Brisbane Quadriplegic Injury

A disabled, quadriplegic AC/DC fan was impaled in a mosh pit at an AC/DC Brisbane concert.

The quadriplegic AC/DC fan was seriously injured at the band’s Brisbane, Australia, concert when his friend accidentally activated the joystick on his wheelchair, causing him to lurch forward into the mosh pit and resulting in a metal pin the man uses to maneuver objects to become embedded in his eye.

The venue received criticism for not placing a proper barrier in front of the special wheelchair podium.  The platform had side and rear barriers, but the only barrier at the front of the podium was a strip of timber and plastic caution tape.

10.  Rolling Stones Stabbing

A concert personal injury event at the Altamont Festival brought the 1960s to a violent end.

Altamont was the brainchild of the Rolling Stones, who hoped to cap off their U.S. tour in late 1969 with a concert that would be the West Coast equivalent of Woodstock.  The concert quickly degenerated into violence, ending the life ot 18-year-old Meredith Hunter.

Concert organizers rushed to build a stage, transport equipment and find security. They hired the Hells Angels, a motorcycle gang with a history of violence and involvement in a host of illegal activities, to provide security.

Fueled by LSD and large amounts of amphetamines, the crowd had also become antagonistic and unpredictable, attacking each other, the Angels, and the performers. By the time the Rolling Stones took stage in the early evening, the mood had taken a decidedly ugly turn as numerous fights began to erupt between Angels and crowd members and within the crowd itself.

The concert was violent from the very beginning.  The Hells Angels used pool cues to control the crowd and protect the four-foot stage. During a performance by Jefferson Airplane, singer Marty Balin was knocked unconscious by an Angel who jumped onto the stage to break up a fight.

Meredith Hunter was stabbed by a Hells Angel at the Rolling Stones’ Altamont Free Concert.

It was reported that Hunter was stabbed after The Rolling Stones took the stage in the evening.   Hunter, an African-American teenager, approached the stage armed with a knife and gun.  Alan Passaro, a Hells Angel security member, stabbed him several times with a knife as the Stones finished “Under My Thumb.”

The incident was caught on camera and became a central scene in the documentary Gimme Shelter. Passaro was charged with murder, but was acquitted on self-defense grounds after the jury was shown the footage.


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