At last month’s Soundwave concert at Sydney’s Olympic Park, several people sustained serious injuries from flares released into the crowd. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, a large flare was lit in a crowded mosh pit during the evening while rock band ‘Bring Me the Horizons’ played, shocking onlookers and causing “severe burns” to a female patron’s arm. In the 40,000 strong crowd at another arena of the festival another two flares were reportedly set off while Metallica played. St Johns’ Ambulances told the Sydney Morning Herald that they treated a total of three patrons for burns at the festival, but no one matched the description of the woman who had been hurt by the large flare. Twitter posts from those who attended revealed that the girl had received initial care from a first aid worker at the festival before making her own way to her local hospital in Newcastle.
Aside from the flare problem, police reportedly evicted over eighty patrons due to intoxication. Police also operated a drug detection program with sniffer dogs detecting 54 cases of possession of illicit drugs, including ice, amphetamines, ecstasy and cannabis. A spokesperson for NSW police after the event said that most of the crowd “behaved responsibly” however he acknowledged that security guards would generally not recognise a flare when looking out for suspicious objects, with the focus usually on “knives or alcohol”.
In response, Soundwave promoter A.J. Maddah reportedly confirmed that security staff at subsequent Soundwave events in Melbourne and Adelaide were to receive extensive training on identifying flares. However with the wrath of Tweets broadcast by him following the Sydney event he said “if we catch anyone w/ flares you'll not only be evicted/arrested, I'll dedicate every iota of energy & money I can muster to ruin your life.” We can only hope future flare smugglers think twice before setting off flares at public events.