The sun is shining; you pack up the car and head to that once in a lifetime chance to see all your favorite bands at the same venue, playing on the same stage. You’re sitting in the middle of the festival on a blanket enjoying the music when you hear some commotion. A crowd surges forward and suddenly you’re under foot with no way out. Adrenaline and fear pulses through your body as you struggle to hoist yourself off the ground to safety.
That’s how the security guard at the Ultra Music Fest in Miami felt when a throng of ticketless partiers decided to storm a fence, knocking it on top of her, and then trampling her in March. She escaped with her life, but suffered a broken leg and severe brain hemorrhaging.
I’m sure everyone remembers the March 4th accident at the SXSW festival in which a driver careened into crowd of people at SXSW, killing four and injuring over 20 more. 2011 was an extremely bad year for music festival injuries and fatalities with stage collapses in Ottowa, Tulsa, Indianapolis, and Belgium. The latter two had a combined death toll of nine.
No matter what music festival you’re headed to — with that many people in one place at one time, injuries will happen. Concert goers are often struck by flying objects, such as glass bottles. Tripping and falling is a hazard. There can be unmarked obstacles in pathways or walkways that have not been properly secured. Equipment has fallen on top of people, causing severe injury or death. Many festival patrons have been hospitalized or died from alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses, especially with the popularity of dangerous rave drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly).
Here are some safety tips to help prevent injuries and accidents while attending a music festival.
Not a good idea, especially the illegal kind. Again, many have been hospitalized or died because of overdoses or tainted drugs at music festivals. Don’t let it be you.
If you drink alcohol, do it sensibly. Alcohol dehydrates you, so make sure to drink plenty of water. If you aren’t planning on spending the night at the festival, have a designated driver or take a cab.
Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Many people at music festivals suffer dehydration from, again, drinking alcohol, also dancing, and the heat. Have a bottle of water with you at all times. If you are drinking alcohol, it’s a good idea to drink water in between each alcoholic drink.
If you’re on medications, bring your supply with you and take it as prescribed. Keep it on you or get it stored safely in the medical center. If you’re asthmatic, don’t forget your inhaler and spare cartridges; people are known to have asthma attacks from dancing.
Take a small first aid kit with you with bandages, disinfectant, antibiotic cream, medications for headaches and stomach aches, maybe a couple instant cold packs, and anything else you can think of that might come in handy.
Know where it is. If you think you may need assistance with an existing medical condition, make yourself known to the medical staff on your arrival.
Reduce your risk of picking up and spreading germs by washing your hands often. Bring wet wipes and antibacterial gel for good measure. If you get a cut, clean it and dress it. If you think it’s infected, see the medical center.
Foot infections are not uncommon at music festivals. It’s important to keep your feet clean and dry to prevent this and other problems such as blisters, etc.
Use a sunscreen with a minimum factor of 15, and apply it regularly — sunscreen doesn’t last all day! If you do get burned, apply after-sun to soothe the affected area. It’s best to wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your neck and ears, and cover your back and shoulders, even if you’re wearing sunscreen.
Wear layers. Bring clothing that is both waterproof and warm. Evenings can get chilly so make sure you have dry clothing. Wearing wet clothing (which can happen from sweating), especially if the temperature drops, can cause hypothermia.
If you are injured at a music festival, keep in mind:
Festival organizers may not be responsible for all injuries that occur during their event, but they do owe a duty of care to their attendees. If you sustain a personal injury at their festival that could have been prevented had they been more responsible, you may be entitled to compensation. If your injury was caused by another concert attendee, you may be able to bring a claim against him or her.
If you’ve been injured at a music festival, make note of everything that happened. Write down the what, where, when, who, how, and why, then contact a personal injury attorney. MBC has handled many premises liability and recreational accident cases and can answer any questions you might have with regard to a music festival injury.