Summer time in Australia is one of the most exciting times of the year, with Christmas, New Years and enough sunshine to make the majority of the population flock to the beach. Summer in Australia also means a plethora of festivals showcasing the musical and cultural talents of not only Australian artists, but also international stars. Naturally, these events attract thousands of people to catch a glimpse of their favourite band or artist, and to also soak up the enjoyable vibe that festivals bring.
The amount of people that any given festival sees walk through their gates is a measure of success and guarantees the festival’s future. It can also see unfortunate, and in some cases, preventable accidents occurring.
The Falls Festival is one of the longest running and most successful festivals in Australia taking place over the New Year period. Starting from humble beginnings in Lorne in Victoria, and later Marion Bay in Tasmania, it has now recently expanded to bring its line-up to festival-goers in Fremantle and Byron Bay. This is a testament to the atmosphere and musical acts the festival brings and organisation skills of everyone involved.
The Falls Festival however, are now facing a possible class action as a result of stampede in Lorne on 30 December 2016, where up to 80 people were caught as they tried to leave one area in order to see another act at another stage. As a result, 19 people were hospitalised with injuries ranging from broken bones to potential head and spinal trauma. The recount of the experience from people who were caught up in the stampede is horrific and some believe that it is a miracle that no one lost their life.
Reports say that the stampede and subsequent crush could have been avoided had the site been designed better. This has paved the way for a potential class action lawsuit on behalf of the festival-goers who were injured or traumatised by the incident.
Festival-goers are entitled to be provided with a safe environment to watch and enjoy their favourite live music on stage. With the amount of people that needed to move between the two areas, the design of the area did not allow for that to happen. The stampede occurred in a bottleneck type shape area of the site, where it has been reported that a patron had slipped, causing others behind them to topple over. The crowd, unbeknownst to them of the situation, continued to push forward, causing the crush.
There continue to be a number of investigations in relation to the incident that occurred at Lorne, including WorkSafe Victoria, which looks at whether any rules or regulations around site design and safety procedures were broken.
The Falls Festival organisers are obviously devastated by the event and confirm that patron safety is of paramount importance. They are working alongside investigators to establish the cause, and to see that something like this does not occur again.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively, make an 0nline enquiry.
Written by Sian-Louise Perez.
Sian-Louise Perez is a Solicitor in Ian Chipchase and Anna Tavianatos’ Practice Group. Sian-Louise’s practice has a particular focus on workers compensation claims and she is passionate supporter of workers’ rights.