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Crush victims sue Falls Festival promoter

65 victims of December's stampede have hired lawyer Brendan Pendergast to push for compensation for "negligence" on the part of Secret Sounds

By IQ on 16 Mar 2017

Tommy O'Dell, DMA's, Falls Festival 2016, Lorne, Victoria

DMA's' Tommy O'Dell at Falls Festival in Lorne

image © Yewth Magazine

Sixty-five people involved in a crush at December’s Falls Festival in Lorne, Australia, are suing promoters for alleged negligence.

The incident, which left more than 80 people injured, occurred after a performance by DMA’s on Friday 30 December when large crowds attempted to exit the Grand Theatre venue through a small exit, recently narrowed further by the construction of a new bar.

In an interview with The Guardian in January, victim Tim Hunt described the stampede as being “like a riptide”, speaking of his horror at people’s screams and “bones snapping from [the] pressure”. Festival co-producer Jessica Ducrou said the festival was “completely devastated” by the incident and promised to launched its own investigation into the causes.

“The allegation is that if proper care and attention had been taken to configuring the area where the acts were taking place … this stampede would not have occurred”

Now, as the Herald Sun reports, law firm Maddens is seeking compensation from promoter Secret Sounds – potentially in the millions of dollars – on behalf of a group of festivalgoers caught in the crush.

“The allegation is that if proper care and attention had been taken to configuring the area where the acts were taking place, and the scheduling of the successive acts, this stampede would not have occurred, that this was entirely avoidable,” Maddens lawyer Brendan Pendergast told Triple J radio. “That’s the basis of this action: predominantly in negligence of the organisers.”

The case mirrors an ongoing lawsuit by victims against Lopavent, the promoter of the tragic Love Parade 2010 – although the crush at that festival led to 21 deaths.

Live Nation acquired a 51% stake in Secret Sounds last December.


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