As was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, on Friday December 30th 2016, the Falls Festival was held in Lorne, Victoria. The Falls Festival is a major Australian Music and Arts Festival recognised globally. The festival is a multi-day event hosting contemporary music performances, dance, comedy, theatre, circus and other art performances.
Around 11pm, following the end of a performance, a surge of patrons exited out of a tented performance area, causing a crowd crush with approximately 80 people being injured. Following the incident, upcoming performances within that venue were suspended with Emergency Services and WorkSafe Victoria conducting investigations into the cause of the incident.
According to ABC’s Triple J "Hack" program, almost eleven months later, the investigation has found, “there is insufficient evidence to prosecute the event organiser, Ash Sounds Pty Ltd. in relation to an incident at the company's Falls Music and Arts Festival in Lorne last year”.
The investigation conducted by WorkSafe Victoria revealed; “that all the conditions imposed by various bodies in relation to the event, such as crowd control, crowd size, and positioning and size of exits, had been met”.
They further reported that: “As a result, WorkSafe found there was insufficient evidence to establish any offence under the 2004 OHS Act and no further action will be taken.”
However, there has subsequently been a potential Class Action announced by Maddens Lawyers’ Brendan Pendergast, (ABC’s Triple J "Hack" program), where patrons are claiming compensation for pain and suffering resulting from injuries sustained in the incident.
So as we enter the music festival season for the Summer of 2017, event organisers need to pay close attention Crowd Management planning.