It is said that when the masses come together, they make decisions in the extreme, and devastating consequences take place. We’ve seen this extreme group behavior during revolutions, civil wars, riots, but one would never expect concerts to take this ugly face. In other words, concerts can create some serious adversities too. Here are 10 devastating concert mishaps of all time that will change your perspective about concerts and events.
1. The Who’s concert at Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati that occurred on 3 December 1979 left 11 dead and eight seriously injured. Before the concert even started, the attendees rushed through the arena’s door resulting in a human stampede.
British rock band, The Who, was the host of the concert in Cincinnati, Ohio. The accident occurred between 7:30 to 8 p.m., but the crowd started gathering as early as 3 p.m, which also was part of their frustration.
The stampede occurred because the doors of the arena were opened too late, so the organizers could not handle the incoming crowd. All the trouble started when one individual threw a bottle at the main gate and the glass broke. Following him, all the young people rushed towards the gate and completely breached it.
When 18,000 individuals tried to get in through the Coliseum gate at once, it created a jam so tight that people died of suffocating. Some fell on the ground and people just walked over them without noticing. The dead bodies were only discovered after the crowd was dispersed. (1, 2)
2. A total of 65 were injured during the “Rocket Queen Riot” or the “Riverport Riot” on 2 July 1991. The three-hour-long riot happened just because Axl Rose, the lead vocalist of Guns N’ Roses, got mad because a fan was taking pictures.
The incident occurred on the Riverport Amphitheatre platform in Missouri. The entire concert was going smooth until the 15th song came up. During the 15th track, Rose saw a fan taking pictures and yelled at security to take the camera from the guy.
Security was unable to do that, so Rose decided to do it by himself. He jumped into the audience and snatched the camera from the fan. He was pulled up by a crewmate from the audience because Axl was punching at the audience and security.
When he got back on stage, he grabbed his microphone and said, “Well, thanks to the lame-ass security, I’m going home!” Then he slammed his microphone down on the stage and left. The crew members were in an awkward position, and they left too.
Witnessing all this, the masses got infuriated and started a riot that stretched on for three hours. Fortunately, nobody was killed, but dozens were injured.
3. The 26th and later concert performances of the Pukkelpop Festival held in Belgium were called off in 2011 when five died and 100 were injured because of a disastrous thunderstorm. All the early warnings and intimations given by the weather forecasting department were ignored and no precautions were carried out.
The scene at the venue, near Hasselt city in Belgium, was horrible in August of 2011. Just after 10 minutes of the thunderstorm kicking in, the stages collapsed, screens fell down, tents were flattened, and trees were uprooted. Heavy rainfall started falling along with violent winds and large hailstorms. The festival set literally turned into mud.
About 60,000 people were estimated to be at the event when the thunderstorm occurred, and famous artists like Eminem, the Foo Fighters, and The Ting Tings were going to take the set.
The conditions worsened to the degree that people had to use their pocket knives to get out of the shattered tents that they were stuck in and run for their lives.
4. The Altamont Free Concert of 6th December 1969 is better known for the violence that occurred on the day. One of the security persons from Hell’s Angels shot an audience member, two died of a car accident, and one drowned in an irrigation canal after getting stoned on LSD. One of the security members also knocked out an artist, Marty Balin.
The concert was held at the Altamont Speedway in North California. The concert was filled with 300,000 attendees and they expected it to be like “Woodstock West,” the original of which was held in New York earlier.
The security in charge of the event were the Hell’s Angels, and it is said that dozens of its members, well known as a motorcycle gang, were hired as security in exchange for $500 worth of beer. The bunch of security guards of Hell’s Angels created havoc at the scene.
One of them knocked an artist, Marty Balin, unconscious and shot an 18-year-old right in front of the set. The Rolling Stones performing at the stage were unaware of what was happening and continued playing until the end.
Not just that, three accidental deaths and four live births also took place during the concert.
The killing of Meredith Hunter, the 18-year old that was shot, was captured in a film, Gimme Shelter. The culprit, Passaro, who shot Hunter was tried but released on the grounds of self-defense. (1, 2, 3)
5. The deadliest of all attacks on the night of 13th November 2015 in Paris was on the Bataclan Concert Hall where the Californian rock band, Eagles of Death Metal, was performing. Three suicidal attackers fired their rifles indiscriminately and killed 89 attendees, injured 100, and left eye-witnesses in serious trauma.
The Bataclan Hall has the capacity of holding 1,500 individuals, and it was all sold out during the attack. The three suicidal attackers arrived in black Volkswagen Polo and directly stormed into the hall through the main gate.
One of the attackers shouted “God is great” in Arabic and started massacring. The second attacker blamed President Hollande for intervening in Syria while firing. It was now clear that the attack was organized by Islamists.
At first, the audience thought it was fireworks, but as soon as they saw people shouting from everywhere, they started leaving the hall through emergency exits, and some sought safety up on the roof.
Soon, the elite security forces were sent in to handle the situation. At twenty minutes past midnight, one of the gunmen was shot and his bomb belt detonated. The other two also blew themselves up soon after that. (1, 2)
Also read: 10 of the Craziest Events Caught Live on Tv