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No Love Parade

July 24, 2010

Yesterday at the Capital Hill Block party I was crammed in between 25 some people trying my hardest check out some music. While this was happening some jerk came by and pushed a lage group of people, which then turned into a mini-mosh pit. I stood my ground and acted as a restraining wall for my smaller female friends- the whole time shocked by how easy it was to cause a massive group disturbance as well as this moron’s complete disregard for other people. This contemplation then triggered a deeper response. Somewhere inside me I was hoping no fire or other incident occurred where we had to flee the scene quickly. Because that was not happened. We were almost completely trapped within this horde of people.

Then this morning I woke to this headline: “Stampede at German Music Festival Kills 18“. My heart sank. This is something that shouldn’t have happened. Given the growing popularity of music festivals crowds are only going to grow bigger and bigger. Better crowd control is going to be needed, or else more and more cases like this are going to happen. The Capital Hill Block party could have easily had a similar headline had something drastic occurred, it was that crowded.

Event planners, fire marshals, and security teams are going to look back at this incident and wonder how they could have prevented it. Should there be a occupancy cap on festivals? Should we hire more security? Should we not have events like this altogether? While there are certainly things the planners can do to prevent stampedes I don’t think it is the organizers who should take the lesson from this incident. No, the main people who should be learning a lesson here are you and me, John and Suzie concert goer.

There is a certain amount of etiquette when going to a concert. A certain amount of non-pushing, respecting personal space, not acting violently, and trying problem solve issues with others using words not fists. Certainly most of us know this. But in a crowd all it takes is one machismo attitude or one unthoughtful action to trigger a cascade of chaos. All is takes is a little more thought of one’s own actions and a little more action to diffuse situations when it’s needed.

Those people didn’t have to die, and it should send a message to all music/festival/parade/anything-that-involves-crowds lovers. This isn’t a case of a festival gone bad- it’s an example of how dangerous herd mentality can be, and how important it is for us to be more thoughtful of our personal space neighbors.

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