With music blasting at incredible rates, constant pushing and shoving, and an overall lack of personal space, concerts and festivals can be a stressful time.
This, combined with the increasing risk of injury or worse, raises the concern of whether it’s time for safer regulations to be introduced. All too often we are seeing catastrophic events such as 2021’s Astroworld, where 10 people died from ‘compression asphyxia’ while attending Travis Scott’s overpopulated concert, held in Houston late last year. Tragedies like this have raised various questions about how to keep safe in crowded places. While the overwhelming excitement and adrenaline can be sky high while finally being able to see your favourite artist perform live, there are a few things we can do to ensure we stay safe while having fun.
Credit to UnSplash
Stay up to date with all your summer festival information here
FOOTWEAR: Always wear trainers, sneakers or high top shoes. Avoid anything with a substantial heel to minimise your chances of slipping. Steer clear of open-toed shoes such as sandals; with the amount of people surrounding you, the risk of someone squishing a toe is considerably high! Wearing the correct footwear may not seem all that important, but in the event of an emergency they will minimise the possibility of tripping in cases where you may need to run for the nearest exit.
MOSH PITS: While some enjoy the vivacity of a mosh pit, others find it oppressive due to their dangerous and claustrophobic nature. Avoid the ‘mosh pits’ by staying at the edge of the crowds. It may be tempting to try and squeeze your way into the centre but this is often where the crowd is moving the strongest with people jumping and pushing into you. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fight it, this can result in injuring yourself, instead slowly move through the crowd and make your way out.
FINDING HELP: Be aware of your surroundings, notice where the security guards are as well as the exits of the venue. This can help you know where to go in the case of an emergency. Knowing where the security and medical personnel are can save you time. Make sure to stick with your friends, often these large concerts or festivals are widespread meaning it’s not very difficult to get lost.
FALLING: If you fall or find yourself on the ground in a crowded situation where it would be difficult to get straight back up, such as a mosh pit, curl your body inwards, keep your head down, arms and legs drawn tight to your chest, and the left side of your body against the ground. This posture will safeguard your most precious body parts, your lungs and your heart. This also keeps individuals from falling on your stomach and back, which could lead you to suffocate.
DRUGS: Never take or purchase drug substances at a concert or festival. It’s no secret festivals are a hotspot for drug use, however often substances purchased at a festival can contain foreign chemicals that can have fatal effects. Cathinone is a stimulant and the effects are considered similar to MDMA and amphetamines. It can sometimes be cut with caffeine and the risks include damage to the heart and nervous system. The charity FRANK warns that because many cathinones are still relatively new on the market, little is known about them and so the risks are unpredictable. Ensure you stay hydrated throughout the event, dehydration combined with the often exhausting activities associated with these large events is not ideal.
While taking all of this information into consideration is very important to ensure your safety, your main priority should be to enjoy the music, atmosphere and experiences this festival season.
Words: Patrick Grady |Sub-edited by Tania Alasady and Ella Gibson