We’ve all heard the horror stories when it comes to large crowds; it feels as if danger is s given, with so many people packed into one space. Whether it be a festival venue, a nightclub or smaller event: supermarkets, stores and stampedes on Black Friday – and most alarmingly (I wish I was joking) long queues on Mount Everest leading climbers to collapse, and suffer fatal consequences due to long waiting times. The latter may sound like satire – unfortunately, the massive crowds of people wanting to scale the legendary mountain has legitimately caused serious issues. It’s extremely worrying to see the behaviour of individuals within large crowds, and even more worrying to see how little is done to protect these individuals.
This type of danger posed by crowds, queues and waiting times pose serious risks to those attending music festivals or events, especially when being held outside in certain weather conditions. A prime example of this is the recent incident which occurred at London’s We Are FSTVL – leading festival goers to collapse, and injured in stampedes as they waited outside the festival entrance for hours. According to the BBC, attendees were forced to wait for over three and a half hours: with no access to water, food or restrooms while standing in the sun. This type of mismanagement and organisational blunder may seem like just an inconvenience to those looking in from the outside, with the crowds actions unreasonable. Although there is no excuse for the actions of a rowdy, selfish crowd who act without consideration for others; it’s also important to recognise the responsibility these organisers need to take in order to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
It’s stated that the reason for the delay at the entrance was the lack of wristbands available. (It is the responsibility of the organisers to make sure they do not run out, however this was unfortunately underestimated.) This ended up causing some attendees to simply leave, as the issue of their safety being at risk was evident. Luckily those who were injured only had minor injuries, and according to a statement released by the organisers were quickly treated on site. It is to be recognised that hosting an event, especially one with massive amounts of people attending is no easy task, and there is always a possibility for hiccups. However there is an absolute responsibility for organisers to check, double check, triple check – that everything has been managed competently, as the safety of attendees comes before anything else. Even though the dangers of large crowds are forever present, it’s essential organisers know for a fact that they are able to accommodate and meet the needs of every single attendee.
Luckily, it seems that after all the chaos the festival allegedly went smoothly from that point onward. This is yet another cautionary tale however, of festival organisation and the dangers it can lead to if not implemented properly. In this instance, although not acceptable, it’s a relief that the injuries were only minor – it could have been a whole lot worse. It’s imperative that event organisers take into account all the possible issues that could arise during their events, and make sure they have the accurate resources to deal with them if the worst should happen. Festival goers deserve to feel safe at these events, and although other attendees can cause their own issues – the organisers should never put attendees in a situation where they have to fear for their safety due to careless mistakes on the festivals part.
Written by Jenna Dreisenstock