Whether people have been run over by a tractor or killed by a Hell’s Angel, the mishaps at outdoor music events are endless and quite terrifying. This should be a cautionary tale those of us music festival wizards, who take the simplest things for granted.
Music festivals are the ultimate experiences. You get to see some of the wackiest stuff there, stuff that would probably make you question your sanity. But that’s just how it goes. These wacky experiences don’t always end well for some as over the years, we have witnessed some strange and downright weird and tragic ways people lost their lives at these events.
1. The kid who was killed in his tent at Woodstock ’69.
The legendary festival has some pretty sick stories attached to it. With the festival running out of food and water on the very first day and being declared a free event by the second, Woodstock is the greatest representation of the hippie culture. Though it was known for its ‘peaceful’ celebrations and 500,000 people strong crowd, the deaths at Woodstock are equally weird. Most notably one death, where a teenager who was peacefully sleeping in his tent, snuggled up in sleeping bag was run over by a tractor. And unsurprisingly, the driver was never found.
2. The girl killed by lightning at T-Bois Festival
A freak lightning strike at the T-Bois Blues Festival claimed the life of New Orleans native Jacqui Stavis. The woman and her friends were in their tent when the accident occurred. Though the other two women were slightly injured, they managed to make it out alive. The girls also had a pet Labrador in the tent with them, who unfortunately lost his life as well. The festival expressed deep regret for the loss of her family. The organizers refrained to post much about the festival on-goings on social media thereafter out of respect for her and her family.
3. Jugalette loses life while attending Gathering of the Juggalos
Gathering of the Juggalos, is a festival and concert event featuring the band Insane Clown Posse, whose fans are known as Juggalos. Michigan-based Kristal Tsosie was very much part of the festivities when she began complaining of not feeling well and was immediately rushed to the hospital, where she died. Her family and friends were adamant in claiming that Tsosie did not consume alcohol or unprescribed drugs. Upon further investigation, it was concluded that she suffered from an infection that affected her heart, thus causing the death.
4. Confusion and rush leads to the death of 11 people at Mawazine Festival, Rabat, Morocco
The family festival ended on a tragic note on May 4, 2009, during Moroccan pop singer Abdelaziz Stati’s performance. A few attendees tried to rush out early to avoid the last minute crowds and a struggle ensued this. Mass confusion and hysteria resulted in a the breaking of a wire fence which set forth a proper stampede. Four men, five women and two children were killed in this ordeal.
5. Love Parade ended when 21 people lost their lives in the tunnel
The Love Parade disaster was one of the highest recorded deaths in a music festival. 21 people lost their lives and almost 500 people were injured. In 2010, the festival was staged at an abandoned freight station, with the entry point being a huge tunnel. The tunnel could accommodate around 250,000 people, but more than a million were expected according to calculations. Due to mismanagement, the tunnel gates were opened and closed at irregular timings and this led to the mass confusion that led to the deaths and injuries. Though first speculated that the deaths occurred after people fell from the staircases trying to escape, autopsies revealed that most deaths occurred due to broken rib-cages.
6. 21 year old Ultra attendee found dead in his car
When Adonis Escoto complained of feeling a little dizzy and unwell at Ultra Miami 2014 his friends, thinking he was drunk, took him to his car in an attempt to sober him up. But after returning to the car in a few hours, Escoto was found dead. The youth was said not to have consumed any drugs and family and friends claim that something must have been slipped in his drinks to have caused the fatality. His death increased pressure on the Ultra authorities to take better precautions to safeguard festival attendees.
7. The bloody Altamount Free Speedway Festival
Noted to be one of the most deadly music festivals, the Altamount Free Concert sure has a few stories. One of the most famous would be about the death of Meredith Hunter. The fan, like most others was desperately trying to climb onto the stage while the Rolling Stones were performing. The constant scuffle irked a few Hell’s Angels members who were around and they tried to pull Meredith off stage. The annoyed fan went back and got his pistol to take revenge and the ensuing fight ended in him being stabbed to death. The festival is known for its extreme statistics, with three other deaths and seven births recorded in 1969 itself.
8. Roskilde Festival: Roskilde, Denmark
Now this is something we totally did not expect. A total of nine people lost their lives in the 2000 edition of Roskilde Festival. In an extremely intensive mosh-pit, eight people lost their lives whereas the ninth one spent his last moments in a hospital few days later. The security officials expressed surprise as the crowd was not too great in size and was deemed ‘manageable’. After this, Pearl Jam paid a tribute to the people lost by performing ‘Love Boat Captain’, as a tribute.
9. The Puzzling death of a teenager at Pemberton Music Festival
On July 18, 2014, Nick Phongsavath was found unresponsive in his tent, when he was attending the Pemberton Music Festival with friends. The 21 years old festival attendee was a computer engineering student at the University of Regina who was set to graduate next year. The cause of his death was not determined but the police ruled out any foul play. His friends said that Phogsavath was not using any drugs prior to his death so that is what makes the death all the more puzzling.
10. Terror at Krylya or Wings Festival