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Anger as Laneway Festival turns ugly

Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Author: Liam Mannix, Indaily

FRIDAY's Laneway Festival in Adelaide was marred by crowd crushes with police forced to step in to control the overcrowded festival.

Hours after the Adelaide leg of the Triple J-supported festival was over, unhappy patrons took to social media to complain being jammed against iron gates and trampled on, being unable to move for long periods, and missing the bands they had paid to see.

One patron broke his leg after jumping from a balcony to get around the immobile crowds.

The festival has been running since 2008 at Fowlers Live and the University of South Australia's City West campus.

Spurred on by the sudden success of three of its headline acts - Flume, Alt-J and Of Monsters and Men - the festival's Adelaide leg sold out this year.

Weslo Security director Bob Lott said his security staff became concerned by the size of the crowd trying to get to a single stage. Once the stage's capacity was reached - 1000 patrons out of the 4000 that attended the festival - a large iron gate was closed on the crowd.

"I'm told that there was a group of people at the back of the queue, clearly disappointed not being able to get in - you can understand that - and they started pushing," Lott told Indaily.

"And that caused a flow on effect, as I understand it, which then did cause concern for security, and everybody I think.

"Our senior people went through the crowd, out the back to try and talk to the people and get them to stop. But people don't listen when they're a bit hyped up."

Lott had a report from his security team, which he read over the phone to Indaily.

"When the gates were closed, [the security team member] was called to assist a medical crew for first-aid for a patron who had jumped from the balcony to gain access to the courtyard.

"While standing waiting for the medical crew, I noticed the main gates came bursting open and a very large number of patrons came running and crushing the patrons into the stage.

"Security managed to close the gates again and maintain order."

Lott said no concerns about crowd crushes had been raised with him.

"There's nothing in there that says that they were particularly concerned. We do do it all the time."

The festival had four stages, but two of the most popular acts were programmed after each other on the same stage.

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