The Seven Deadliest Music Festivals

Categories: List-O-Rama

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It has been a particularly grim summer already in music festival fatalities, with one death over the weekend at Electric Daisy and two more at Bonnaroo a couple weeks ago. But this is hardly a new phenomenon: The combination of crushing crowds, heat and mind-altering substances (as the Mormons say) at any of the thousands of music festivals that happen each year often proves lethal. In an effort to understand the problem, we tracked down seven of the deadliest music festivals in history. There are more-or-less infinite ties at the bottom end of this list, so Nos. 5, 6 and 7 were chosen as much for notoriety as for number of deaths, but No. 1 through 4 four are pretty much definitive.

7. Electric Daisy Carnival: Dallas, Texas
This past Saturday, nineteen-year-old Andrew Graf died after being taken to the Baylor University Medical Center from the Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic music festival. Though the cause of death remains under investigation, Graf was one of multiple people who were taken "to hospitals for drug, alcohol and heat-related illnesses," according to WFAA in Dallas. In addition, at least 24 others had been hospitalized after the festival. In a statement, festival founder Pasquale Rotella expressed his condolences and said he "will work with the authorities to understand how this tragedy occurred." The Electric Daisy Carnival was banned in Los Angeles after a fifteen-year-old died from an ecstasy overdose at last year's event.


6. Woodstock: Bethel, New York
The most famous music festival in rock & roll, Woodstock set the standard, attracting so many people that it became the third-largest city in New York during its run from August 15 to August 18. The "three days of peace and music" proved not all harmony: Within the estimated gathering of over half a million people, two people died during Woodstock. One man died from a heroin dose and "a teenager in a sleeping bag was killed when a tractor ran over him," according to the Daily Mail, which goes on to state that the driver was never traced.

5. Altamont Speedway Free Festival: Livermore, California
What set out to be "Woodstock West" wound up being Hell's concert: The free event was held on December 6, 1969, and drew 300,000 fans with performances by the Rolling Stones, Santana and Jefferson Airplane, among others. Four people died at the festival, with "two from hit-and-run accidents, one from drowning in an irrigation ditch and, most notoriously, one from repeated wounds at the hands of a Hell's Angels member" during an outburst of violence during the Rolling Stones' set that night. Eighteen-year-old Meredith Hunter attempted to climb onstage when Hells Angels members prevented him from doing so. Hunter returned with a pistol and Angel Alan Passaro stabbed him. Hunter later died from his wounds.

4. Roskilde Festival: Roskilde, Denmark
On June 30, 2000, nine people died during a Pearl Jam performance at Roskilde, a rock music festival held annually in Denmark. According to the police report, "eight young men were killed outright and on July 5, 2000, another young man died as a result of the accident." It also noted that all victims had bruising on their bodies and faces and "none of them had been under the influence of narcotic substances." The cause of death for all nine victims was "suffocation after compression/pressing of the chest," according to the police report. Pearl Jam paid tribute to the accident victims in their song, "Love Boat Captain," with the lyrics "lost nine friends we'll never know, two years ago today."



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10 comments
Rhickman7292
Rhickman7292

EDM sucks, douchebag. Shitty drugs, so many underage kids trying drugs for the first time. The EDM scene does not carry any sort of good message at all. Try the jam scene on the other hand. 99% of people are incredibly nice and helpful. Love+light

Tod Augustine
Tod Augustine

It is sad that lives are Lost So Frequently At rock shows Or Any Event,After Reading About The Seven Deadliest Rock Show,s The Ohio Show When The Who Played and Fans Got trampled Did Not Make The List, Nor Did Woodstock 99, But Woodstock 69 Made It Because Of One herion Overdose And One Person Got Killed When A Tractor Ran Him Over While He Was in a Sleeping Bag,One Of The Most Notorious Is Altamont With The Stone,s And The Hells Angels Not That It Is OK To Or Am I Justifying Any thing At Altamont Bug Lets Not Forget That The Stabbing Did Not Occor Until After Merideth Hunter Tried To Get On The Stage And was Not Permitted to Do So And Then Went And Brought A Hand gun Back To The Event Did The Real Mayhem Start.

OARDarby
OARDarby

So a festival where 1 person was killed is on the list of "Seven Deadliest" yet Bonnaroo where 2 people were killed this year, as well as others in years past is mentioned but not one of the "Seven Deadliest"? How does that work?

Oh
Oh

Capitalizing every word does not strengthen your argument. It actually makes it unreadable.

Kiernan Maletsky
Kiernan Maletsky

Electric Daisy makes it because of last year PLUS this year and, as we said in the intro, those make it more for general notoriety as a result of a very-many way tie.

Acinvegas
Acinvegas

That is such a joke!  You put Electric Daisy on the list because of the genre of music, obviously not your favorite, but at least do your research and get your argument right. Bonnaroo has had TEN deaths since it started in 2002.  Additionally, Electric Daisy Carnival, Dallas has had only one very unfortunate death, the other was at a completely different festival in LA (22,000 fans vs 180,000 fans - apples and oranges).  By definition Electric Daisy Carnival doesn't belong on this list ever before Bonnaroo, even if you reference it in the intro, but I am sure that you will now create the "Eight Deadliest" in an effort to try to create some story around electronic music festivals and death.  It is so unfortunate that the death happened this past weekend, but it is almost equally unfortunate that you are trying to capitalize on the deaths at all of these music festivals.  Do you really believe that the operators, producers, promoters, venues, etc... would ever want a death to occur at an event that is intended for pure enjoyment?  I don't think so!  Maybe you should at least offer something constructive along with this piece.  I just don't see the value... 

MikeApp
MikeApp

And yet the Gathering of the Juggalos has yet to post a single fatality.  Crazy world.

Stl_Bob
Stl_Bob

Fucking miracle, man.

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