Falls Festival Crowd Crush – Incident Response

13 Jan 2017

Falls Festival which is owned by Secret Sounds (recently acquired by Live Nation) operates three festivals in three cities simultaneously over the new year period: Marion Bay – Tasmania, Byron Bay – New South Wales and Lorne – Victoria. The success of this year’s festivals was tainted with a very serious crowd crush at the Victorian event. Around 80 attendees were injured with 19 being admitted to hospital with various injuries including leg, rib, hip and pelvic fractures, possible spinal injuries, head and facial injuries as well as cuts and abrasions. Immediately after the incident the organisers shut down that particular stage, opened up an enquiry email address, set up a phone line for attendees to contact loved ones (due to limited signal onsite) and sent out a statement via Facebook. The next day the stage reopened with bigger entrances, new signs telling people to be mindful of others, a 24-hour counselling service was set up and another update released via Facebook. Once the Lorne leg had finished, festival organiser Jessica Ducrou then posted a lengthy statement to Facebook addressing the incident again and detailing their emergency strategy. The incident is now being thoroughly investigated by multiple parties including WorkSafe Victoria and the festival itself who has asked all of those injured to get in contact with them. By all accounts it’s a miracle that no one was fatally injured and the organisers should be praised for their extremely professional and efficient response to such a distressing situation. You can read more about the incident here.