Last Updated: Friday, August 29, 2014

Inside Edition Finds A Few People Can Ruin A Good Concert
Updated: Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Last week's Inside Edition TV investigative news segment, "Caught in the Crowd," offered a couple of crowd safety techniques people in crowds can use if problems develop.

But, in the process of researching their safety segment, Inside Edition news investigators found that the old rock and roll adage, "it only takes a few people to ruin a concert for everybody" is still relevant today. The shock for Inside Edition and TV viewers came when it was revealed that the spoilers were actually the very people and authorities that should be enforcing public safety at concerts.

For example, Inside Investigators found that at a Van's Warped Tour alternative/heavy metal/punk festival stop at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, outside of Chicago, Clear Channel Entertainment/SFX, facility operators and tour promoters did not enforce their own bans on crowd surfing, moshing or even the most dangerous mosh activity--stage diving. Crowd crushing, crowd collapse and injuries were recorded by Inside Edition.

At Denver's old Mile High Stadium, the last music festival held there was this summer's heavy metal Ozzfest. In Denver, festival seating/standing room crowd configurations are banned by fire department order. However, that did not stop the city from looking the other way and allowing festival seating. Fire department officials said the organizers, Clear Channel Entertainment/SFX had qualified for a festival seating exemption, true or not, the city's required crowd safety demands to the promoter were violated.

In Milwaukee, the Vanís Warped Tour allegedly played to an overcrowded Eagles Auditorium audience. Video documentation was presented to the city, but neither officials in the police nor fire department showed any interest in investigation the matter.

However, one of the scariest incidents occurred in May at the annual HFStival at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Inside Edition producer Larry Posner was video taping the concert after receiving the necessary credentials from promoter Clear Channel Entertainment/SFX. At one point during the all day festival, Mr. Posner turned his attention to injured fans being carried off the festival seating stadium field. He was observed by a Clear Channel Entertainment/SFX employee, who, upon learning what Mr. Posner was doing--filming a young girl in a neck brace--attacked him, took his camera and confiscated Mr. Posner's film. Journalist Posner was then roughed up and held against his will by private security. Clear Channel Entertainment/SFX later claimed Mr. Posner was interfering with their operations. A charge Mr. Posner vehemently denies.

The Inside Edition incident at RFK Stadium is not as uncommon as one might think. A similar incident involved a Tribune-Review photo journalist at the 2000 Rolling Rock Town Fair underwritten by Latrobe Brewery and promoted by then SFX Entertainment, according to the Rock Safety Database. The photo journalist was documenting fighting in a grandstand and other incidents when he was attacked by festival security and robbed of his camera and film. The photo journalist's film was eventually returned. Mr. Posner was not as lucky. He never got his video tape back that he says documented police watching underage drinking in RFK Stadium parking and injured concertgoers inside RFK Stadium.

Inside Edition's "Caught in the Crush" is an excellent crowd management training and educational video that belongs in the library of promoters, facility operators, security firms, record companies, attorneys, artists, educators, parents and concertgoers. In fact, the video will have value to anybody interested in learning more about crowd safety at concerts and sports events. The six and a half minute segment is available for purchase from Inside Edition. To purchase "Caught in the Crush," visit the Inside Edition website.




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