HomeAustraliaMelbourne concert ‘stampede’ prompts safety concerns, internal review

Melbourne concert ‘stampede’ prompts safety concerns, internal review

“It didn’t even feel like a concert,” noted another concertgoer, “it felt like a panic attack.”

Georgia Martin, 20, said she felt let down by the handling of the event by promoter Frontier Touring and Melbourne Olympic Parks. “Management underestimated the demand for the event,” she said. “It wasn’t good enough for an arena that hosts these types of events regularly.”

Lacy at the Grammy Awards in January 2020. His star has since risen beyond all expectation.Credit:Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Certainly, Steve Lacy’s rise to public attention has taken everyone by surprise. When his Australian tour was announced in September, he was booked to play the Forum, which has a capacity of around 2,000 people, and two more shows – one each in Brisbane and Sydney – at similarly sized venues. But after tickets sold out in a matter of minutes, the promoter upgraded to larger venues and added a second show at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

Tuesday night’s Melbourne show, the first of the tour, was moved to John Cain Arena, which has a capacity of between 7,500 and 10,900 guests, depending on configuration.

Lacy’s popularity with young fans has been driven by his relatable lyrics and clean production – and appeal for sampling. His song Bad Habit has become a TikTok sensation, being sampled in its original form in 621,000 separate posts and in a sped-up version in a further 441,000 TikToks.

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On Thursday November 17, Ticketek and Frontier emailed patrons to inform them that all tickets to the Melbourne show would be general admission.

Access to the floor was dependent upon patrons receiving a wristband, but numbers were limited. To secure one, some fans began lining up from 5am. However, The Age has been told that some ticket holders appeared to have forged wristbands to gain entry to the floor.

In response to the events of Tuesday night, John Cain Arena manager Melbourne and Olympic Parks and Frontier Touring released a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“Our venue management team had a detailed plan in place to manage ingress into the venue,” they said. “Unfortunately, once doors were open, a number of guests towards the back of the queue pushed forward, creating crowding near the entry.”

While saying “no injuries relating to crowding were reported”, the statement added that “Melbourne and Olympic Parks will review our ingress process for general admission events, to ensure we continue to meet our commitment to delivering a safe and enjoyable experience for all who attend our venues”.

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