On September 24, 2015, The Summer Ends music festival began its four day run at Tempe Beach Park. The festival was bringing huge musical names to the Valley, including Kanye West, Hozier, Jimmy Eat World, and other rock and punk rock bands. Concert promoters were expecting massive crowds to enjoy the event. Unfortunately, promoters and city officials failed to provide adequate security and water resources for the concert-goers. This resulted in serious injuries to 300 people, 16 of which were considered very serious and were transported to the hospital.
Large crowds need security. Concert promoters have known this since the days of Woodstock and Altamont. The issue, however, is that security costs the promoters money. When crowds of tens of thousands of people gather together, sufficient security is necessary to control any potential problems. The Summer Ends festival not only had insufficient security for the size of the crowd, but they compounded their error by not providing sufficient hydration to the concert goers who were outside for hours in the 100-plus-degree weather. The event even had misting systems brought in, but decided not to use them on Saturday, a day when the largest crowd was expected.
During the show, audience members began pushing each other for position, and fights escalated from there. Several people became trapped, while others were pinned against the barricades in the front of the stage. Had the event hired enough security guards, the problem could have been handled quickly and without issue.
One person who attended the show said, “It was crazy . . . People were getting pushed, stepped on, trampled over. Nobody was really caring about anybody.” Another reported, “Kind of a disaster in there. It’s really packed. It’s intense. . . We were suffocating.”
We all expect proper security to be put in place for sporting events and concerts. Unfortunately, often times promoters and those in charge attempt to save money by limiting the number of security personnel available. When this happens, the promoters and/or venue may be responsible for any injuries that occur.