Eighteen people were trampled to death by massive crowds attending Germany’s annual Love Parade music festival last Saturday. Apparently, the herd of festival goers panicked en route to the show; police were about to close off the tunnel – the only entrance to the event – when crowds tried to push their way through, injuring over 500 people and killing eighteen.
I’m not sure if there’s anything that speaks to the dark nature of mob mentality than roving over the bodies of dead or near-dead to get into a techno show. Imagine yourself in that scenario: trapped in a blockade full of hundreds – maybe thousands – of stampeding people. Jesus. Breathe. MTV recounts other concert casualties:
Sadly, trampling and crushing incidents have a long, tragic history at live music events. At the Roskilde Festival in Denmark in 2000, nine Pearl Jam fans were crushed and three seriously injured when fans trying to get close to the stage caused a deadly surge. The accident nearly broke up the band and put PJ off playing festivals for a number of years out of fear for their fans’ safety.
In one of the most infamous incidents in rock history, 11 fans were crushed to death at a Who concert on December 3, 1979, in Cincinnati, where a crowd surged toward the doors in an attempt to gain entrance to the general admission show. That incident — which put an end to general-admission shows in Cincinnati for nearly three decades — is cited as a turning point in modern rock concert history, when concert security and crowd control became an overriding concern.