Inspired by the Woodstock 99 thread, which was obviously a fucking huge chaotic disaster.
This has something that’s come up in conversation with friends this year because I felt scared at points during this year’s Primavera (oversold, terrible crowd control, shit infrastructure) and my friends all commented that this year’s Glastonbury felt like it was about to collapse at various points with quite scary bottlenecks and overcrowding.
Rage Against The Machine at Reading - can’t remember the year, but it was after they reformed. The crowd surge at the start of their set was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It calmed down a bit after a couple of songs, but it was a proper fight-or-flight moment of “I need to get the fuck out of here, someone is going to get hurt” at first.
Once at Leeds festival (can’t remember the year or the acts involved) I and hundreds of others were trying to leave one of the tents as a huge amount of people were trying to get in for the next band. It got to the point where at one stage I was physically lifted clear of the ground by the crush, luckily I’m relatively tall so had my head above the crowd but as someone with quite a big fear of crushing (or at least I do have now!) it was pretty bloody scary as it was getting hard to breathe properly. I was also extremely concerned for the safety of a couple of people near me who were a lot smaller and were clinging on to people to prevent themselves slipping to the floor where it would have been impossible to pick them up.
It eventually freed up but for a few long seeming minutes it was bloody horrible.
I was just thinking Rage Against The Machine at that free show they did in Finsbury Park. The ground was all muddy too, and I remember spending most of the set scrunching my toes, trying not to lose a shoe as I went with the flow of the crushing crowd.
Tyler’s set at Prima this year got crazy towards the end. Was one particular track where he got the crowd hyped up, and loads of people piled in from the sides to get to the centre for the big track to drop (not even one i recognised either)
A pit was opening up so everyone at the back of it was getting really squashed and not feeling good at all. Lucky once the song kicked in the space opened up some more and you just had to ride it out, but was feeling crushed and a bit panicky until then. Also a whole stream of us bailed after that track as didn’t want to deal with any more of that energy
Set had been full on but great fun in the centre up til then, so was just those last tracks where it tipped over for me
I am an average height, below average weight woman so feeling scared for my physical safety at music events is pretty common. Not to have a go at anyone but it’s slightly jarring to read people saying it’s only happened to them once or twice! A lot of gigs have a bunch of big drunk men flailing around basically barging into people so I just have to avoid going anywhere near the front because I’ll get knocked over. And that’s before getting into any concerns about sexual assault. My parents took me to see Oasis around my 14th birthday and had to chase off a drunk adult man who tried to grab me
Never felt scared for my own safety, cause well male for starters but the crowd at Old Trafford for Arctic Monkeys was pretty aggressive best shown by a Pirate and Clown fighting, same at Stone Roses at Heaton Park but also I was so hungover we stayed at the back.
I’ve never felt unsafe at Glastonbury it’s always been really big individual gigs I’ve not felt very comfortable.
With Primavera I’m surprised things haven’t got really dangerous. Amazed nobody has got seriously hurt walking down those steps to Mordor or those steps down to Pitchfork.
When The Verve played their ‘homecoming’ gig at Haigh Hall, I somehow managed to get right to the front which was a big mistake. As soon as they came on everything surged forward and I was properly squished against the barriers. Fought my way back a bit til it was better, but I still came away with bruised ribs.
Before Radiohead came on at Glastonbury 2003, things were getting overwhelmingly packed to the point where the only way people were able to get out was by surfing over the top. Any significant movement was rippling out through the crowd, and I really had the fear that if I fell down then I’d struggle to get back up again. Thankfully things settled down once they came on and people stopped trying to push through.
Relatedly, I’ve been advising on this project which is bringing together information about orgs that are working to improve the industry. Give them a follow and amplify some of the initiatives online if you can.
Yeah, came here to say Bloc 2012. The queue to get in was bad but the RA tent was worse, there was a sort of one-in one-out situation that just got completely overpowered by people just piling through the barriers. Just felt like the whole thing was only ever a couple of minutes away from getting properly ugly.
The last night of the one time I went to Download was bad too, think security were a bit heavy-handed when they were clearing the arena area which led to a load of angry pissed people being unleashed on the campsite. Lots of tents and toilet blocks on fire, people chucking those gas canisters onto bonfires, that sort of thing. Think some riot police got called in the end.
Phoenix 96, right at the front of the main stage for Wildhearts. Was 13 at the time and tiny for my age, as well as getting crushed I also got kicked around the head every 30 seconds by crowdsurfers. Asked a security guard to haul me out after two songs.
There was a Reading I was at where the crush on the main stage between (I think) Dizzee Rascal ending and people leaving that while everyone was piling in for Libertines first reunion show was really fucking dicey. Just both sides pushing from the back, which led to a massive crush and people being lifted off their feet, there was people clambering onto the roofs of the vendors to get out of it. Cleared up quite quickly, but for a minute or two felt like it was gonna get nasty.
As mentioned, Primavera this year on the first day especially felt like something really bad could happen.
Tbh, I think it’s remarkable things don’t go tragically wrong at these massive festivals and shows more often than they do.