‘Don’t Agitate the Crowd Under Any Circumstances’: How the Astroworld Tragedy Changed Charts Forever | Music

The show should go on – except when it isn’t. In 2022, hardly a week goes by without a top artist stopping the party for safety reasons like preventing crowds from breaking out or alerting the medical staff.

in july, Adele has stopped her Hyde Park show four times To help overheating fans. Harry Styles pressed repeatedly during his latest tour earlier this year; Doja Cat waited five minutes for security To solve a problem in Lollapalooza Argentina, and Sam Fender warns fans to stop fighting At a party in Glasgow. Pharrell Williams, Slipknot, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish and the Killers all had to act as crowd control.

This caution is clearly a product Astroworld Festival Disaster last november. The event, moderated by rapper Travis Scott, saw deadly crowds that killed 10 fans and injured more than 300.

Scott was criticized for allegedly ignoring fan calls to stop the show, and continued performing until an ambulance arrived causing the music to be cut off. He denied responsibility, saying he didn’t know anything was okay until after he was caught.

“I guarantee that since Astroworld, managing companies are saying to their artists: ‘If you see this happening, in no way agitate the public,'” says Steve Allen. Tour Director for Led Zeppelin, Blore, Pulp, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, he is now Head of the Crowd Safety Advisory Organization He was an expert witness in civil litigation at Astroworld. “If someone says stop the show, stop the show. If not, it will be the end of your career.”

Travis Scott at Astroworld.
Travis Scott at Astroworld. Photo: Amy Harris/Invision/Associated Press

In September 1997, Allen coined the term “show action” while working with Oasis. At a party in Aberdeen, the energy of the crowd was so “beyond Richter” that it necessitated a formal plan of action in the event of a future mishap. “I explained to Noel that if we didn’t have this system in place, there was a strong possibility that someone could get seriously hurt.”

The system that created him saw him standing on the barricade of the stage ready to signal to the Gallaghers if the safety of the crowd was breached. He says it was a smash success. “We hit a tee. We should have stopped 17 to 25 different shows around the world; the band was 100% compatible. They didn’t want a death or a major accident at their concert, that simple.”

Founder Mind counseling over matterProfessor Chris Kemp, who started The world’s first degree in crowd managementHe says the procedure worked because it came from the same squad. “Anyone else who has tried to get on stage and do it [wouldn’t have worked]. The Gallagher brothers cared about what happened.”

So did Allen’s team, who said he accepted ridicule for wearing noise-canceling headphones to communicate with each other — as opposed to mic-mounted headphones — before they moved into the mainstream. Since people die within three minutes of not having access to oxygen, he says, you “need to hear.”

While the shows have been discontinued before – Nirvana stopped showing in Auckland in 1993 To Challenge Sexual Assault in the Crowd – It was Allen’s codification of the procedure in 1997 that made it a serious tool in the crowd manager’s arsenal, and it is now widely used by security personnel around the world.

The vast majority of crowd management today is still preventive rather than reactive – as is the show procedure. “There has to be a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities,” Allen explains, referring to the extensive planning he has done for Eminem Anger Management Tourwhere they called the police force from the after party city to prepare by attending one before.

Fallout from the 2000 Roskilde Festival.
Fallout from the 2000 Roskilde Festival. Photo: Nils Melvang/EPA

In 2016, Kemp Worked with Roskilde Festival in Denmark – Scene Tragedy of 2000 in which nine people were killed to death While performing the Pearl Jam – to create a precise protocol that includes an intermittent entry system to reduce crushing incidences. “The more you plan, the more you can reduce opportunities,” Kemp says.

“Shit,” Allen says, “can happen.” This is why performing showstop is still an essential part of interactive management, which is the ultimate emergency mechanism at the end of a daisy chain of safe practices.

Astroworld has made touring teams aware of the risks of not having such a measure: In addition to the potential harm to life, musicians could face legal, reputation and financial repercussions. The world’s richest artists earn more than 75% of their income from tours. A party where the audience feels unsafe or provokes an online backlash could mean lower ticket sales or an increase in infrastructure fees. “The promoter will turn around and say, ‘For you to play here, the local authority insisted that I double my security, so my earnings are now down,'” Allen says.

Increasingly, it is the artist who launched it. Fans soon realized that these pauses reflect the real interest on the part of the artist. Post-Astroworld Billie Eilish has been widely praised as one of the first musicians to pause proceedings in order to get an inhaler fan. In turn, these artist interactions have created an expectation of safety among fans – especially as they and their favorite artists return to a changing industry.

After nearly 18 months of being deprived of live music, fans are generally more enthusiastic. “You might think Rod Stewart: No problem at all. Wrong – unfair – unfair!” Allen says. “I see the real excitement between [all people at gigs] As if they had a Willy Wonka ticket.”

In these particularly hectic moments, the performers will talk to their bands between songs and maybe pick a slower number to cool off the energy in the room. “This decision is about safety,” Kemp says. “It’s not hard to make things work. It’s not just about the money.”

Another side effect of the pandemic is that many highly trained security personnel have been forced to retrain in other areas due to a lack of work, which has led to places operating with less qualified activists. “The proportions that were there have been greatly watered down,” Allen says.

Allen and Kemp are divided over whether the performer should take ultimate responsibility for the safety of the crowds. “Everyone has a duty of care, but the artists got on that stage to perform for the audience,” says Allen. “They should have people in their places across the lawns.”

Kemp does not agree. “if [they] I think the whole show is about them, and that’s when you have to challenge them. Artists must accept the offer to the public and present the safest [performance]. While artificial intelligence technology, such as Dynamic crowd measurement, he can record the mood of the audience and compliance, the artist has the best vision, he says. “This connects the artists and bands in place.”

Regardless, seeing artists participate in crowd safety is undoubtedly a positive trend, says Kemp. “If you don’t already have an audience, what’s the point of that?”