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Summer Concerts can be Dangerous… and Deadly


Now that school is officially out, summer concert season is in full swing. Multi-season arenas and outdoor venues are preparing for packed crowds and sold-out shows. Music lovers of all genres are just waiting to hear their favorite tunes accompanied by thousands of other fans. Concerts can be thrilling and magical, but surprisingly they can also be extremely dangerous.

Summer Concerts Can Be Dangerous…and Deadly

When it comes to the atmosphere of summer concerts, excitement can easily overshadow safety. In a poll conducted by MSN regarding concert behaviors, nearly 50% of the those surveyed admitted to doing something at a concert or festival they would never consider doing outside of those environments, including participating in risky behaviors and neglecting the well being of others:

  • Back in October 2017, a 23-year-old man attended a Travis Scott concert in New York City and was left paralyzed after he was pushed from a third story balcony and dragged onstage. He ended up suing the rapper and his producer for “negligence, carelessness and recklessness” due to the performer’s tendency to encourage rowdy and dangerous behaviors during his shows.
  • At a concert in Hartford, Connecticut last July, the police department reported over 90 fans were hospitalized from concert related injuries, admitting that 20-30 hospital transports was typically considered ‘normal’.

It’s no secret that people do not always use their best judgment when attending concerts and with the massive size of summer venues, the risks of danger are even higher. Any New Yorker planning to attend a show this season should be familiar with the common risk factors that lead to concert-related injuries and how to take the proper precautions to prevent unnecessary accidents.

Out-of-Control Alcohol and Drug Use

Substance abuse has continuously ranked as one of the leading factors causing concert- related injuries and fatalities. In 2016, studies showed 13% of music festival deaths were directly caused by drugs and alcohol (overdoses or alcohol poisoning)- this percentage does not represent the number of other fatalities influenced by substances. Substance use increases the occurrence of reckless behaviors and the severeness of accidents, resulting in thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths every year from the various dangerous side effects:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol immediately disrupts normal brain functioning according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH). Not only does alcohol result in poor decision making, blurred vision, poor balance, and delayed reactions, alcohol increases an individual’s risk of violent behavior, both insinuating fights and participating in existing brawls. Fans who binge drink at concerts are are also more likely to be hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, especially underaged attendees still experimenting with drinking.
  • Drugs: Teens are much more likely to try drugs for the first time in the summer, and concerts serve up a buffet of dangerous choices. Fans who use drugs can be unpredictable and terrifying depending on the type of substance they are using. An article by Independent reports some of the scariest side effects of recreational drugs are respiratory issues, heart failure, hallucinations, manic phases, brain damage, and immediate death.

Violent and Reckless Performers

Some performers are known for putting on amazing shows, while others either invoke risky behaviors or actually participate in them while performing! These risky stunts have caused serious and fatal injuries to fans who only showed up for a night of fun:

  • Crowd Jumping: In 2013, performer Miguel was attempting a jump over the pit during the Billboard Music Awards performance when he landed on the head of fan who later sued him for brain damage and cognitive impairments.
  • Pyrotechnics: Sparks and fireworks are dangerous, especially when lit off on a stage surrounded by thousands of fans. In 2003, a fire broke out at a Great White concert when their pyrotechnic effects when horribly wrong. Over 96 people were killed in the fire and hundreds of others injured.
  • Projectile objects: At an Insane Clown Posse concert back in 2015, a fan was knocked unconscious after the band hurled an unopened 2-liter bottle of soda directly into her chest, causing her to fall back and hit the concrete floor. Throwing items into the crowd is only exciting if no one gets hurt, which happens more often then you might think.

Performers who directly influence their crowds create an environment of acceptance for their fans to get rowdy and make poor decisions that continue to cause harm to themselves and other fans around them. According to an article by bandwidth.fm, even performers who do not encourage or display these types of behaviors admit that it’s ‘bad PR’ to attempt to control your crowd for out of control and possibly dangerous moves.

Dangerous Crowd Fads

If you are in the pit of any crowded summer concert, you may want to watch out!  These reckless fan behaviors could cause you to sustain an injury regardless of if you are actively participating:

  • Moshing: Shoving and pushing people in the pit (fan crowd in front of the stage)
  • Crowd Surfing: Launching yourself over the heads of others, supported fans hands.
  • Stage Diving: Climbing on stage and jumping off into the crowd to be caught.

Studies released by the NHS Choices in the UK on injuries sustained from these dangerous crowd behaviors show that moshing resulted in the most injuries out of the three above. The head was the most common body part injured, followed by the neck and legs. Injuries ranged from contusions, sprains, and lacerations, which more often times were sustained by the crowd members and not the fans instigating the reckless behaviors.

The acceptance of these trends is concerning and they have been around for decades. In an article published by ABC News, for a larger concert that tends to attract mosh pits particularity, 100 to 200 injuries can be expected from nosebleeds to broken bones. Despite the risks, some concert-goers still believe these types of acts enhance their experience, even if the behavior can result in death.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Drunk or sober, all fans are vulnerable to falling injuries when it comes to attending concerts. Large masses of people can easily hide these common slip and fall hazards causing a number of serious accidents and sometimes life-changing injuries:

  • Stairs and steps
  • Drink and food spills on concrete floors
  • Insufficient balcony railings
  • Non-secured seats
  • Other fans standing, sitting, or even lying down in the path of pedestrians
  • Elevation changes such as raised floors or holes in outdoor lawn venues
  • Floor areas for viewing without seating allowing overcrowding of fans

Unpredictable Concert Tragedies

Even when practices proper safety measures, there are still cases of tragic concert accidents that no one sees coming. These tragedies may not have been preventable by the average fan, but concert attendees should still be aware of them in the case of a repeat incident:

  • Stage Collapses: In 2011, a stage collapse caused by strong winds at a Sugarland concert killed five fans and injured dozens of others. Stage collapses can happen when too many fans crowd the stage, but sometimes structural mishaps are to blame.
  • Shootings: Last year’s Las Vegas shooting taking place at a country music festival left 59 people dead and over 500 injured. Unfortunately, mass shootings are becoming more and more common, giving concert attendees a whole new reason to make sure they stay alert.
  • Bombings: During an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, 22 people were killed and 59 others were wounded after a suicide bomber detonated his device near one of the exits.

Devastating concert accidents such as these are a horrifying new reality for modern day music lovers and has made the issue of concert security and safety an even larger priority than ever before.

Concert Safety 101

There may be a lot of risks involved in attending a live concert this summer but that doesn’t mean fans should be scared or avoid seeing their favorite bands perform. BuzzFeed, Uloop, and healthdirect all have some extremely helpful safety tips for live music enthusiasts to follow to avoid both common and uncommon injuries this concert season:

  • Drink, but not enough to lose control.
  • Stay hydrated with non-alcoholic beverages between drinks.
  • Wear earplugs to protect your hearing.
  • Don’t ever take drugs from someone you don’t know, and preferably not at all.
  • Watch your drink and others in your group to avoid drink spiking.
  • Stay on the ground and away from mosh pits and crowd surfers.
  • Bring a portable charger for your phone.
  • Avoid getting pushed too close to the stage.
  • Review where your seating and make an exit plan in the case of an emergency.
  • Let friends and family know the details of the concert before you go.
  • Search online to see if the event has already been targeted by violent threats.
  • Set a meeting place for your group to make sure everyone is safe at the end of the night.
  • Download online apps to contact others in an emergency.
  • Know the security plan for the venue.
  • If you see something…say something. Watch for strange or dangerous behaviors.

Parents of teens attending concerts: you may want to think twice before allowing them to go unsupervised. If your teen is really there for the music, they can still have an amazing time with you tagging along. If they are not, at least you will be making them think twice about participating in unhealthy behaviors.

Summer concerts are for enjoying music- not an opportunity to get out of control at the expense of others. If you or a loved one has sustained serious injury due to the negligence of another, you may qualify for compensation for your damages. Our experienced personal injury attorney at Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe, & Fein, PC are experts in seeking justice for injured victims. 

Contact us using our convenient online form or feel free to phone us in New York at 212-227-1212, or in Huntington/Long Island at 631-864-2429.

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