Festivals Gone Wrong – When Regulations Are Ignored
If you’re a millennial, chances are you know who Tana Mongeau is and you heard about her spectacular disaster of an event called TanaCon. If you haven’t, here is a quick summary…
The young YouTube sensation, who has 3.5 million followers, decided to hold her own convention as a way of rebelling against VidCon, an established and famous video conference for video viewers and creators. Tana decided to hold her convention right next to VidCon and give away free tickets.
Six hours into the first day of TanaCon, local officials shut down the event due to overcrowding. Many fans ended up stranded in a line outside for hours, dehydrated, with a major case of sunburn. Most of them didn’t get to go inside.
In another, related incident, what was supposed to be a “Coachella in the Caribbean” called the Fyre Festival ended up being a disco in a swamp. The event was “organized” by Billy McFarland, a wannabe entrepreneur. Tickets cost up to $12,000, and concertgoers were promised villas, celebrity chefs, and rock bands. When they arrived, they got wet tents, and crappy music played from speakers.
Festivals are supposed to be fun, but poor planning can make them worse than horrible experiences: it can make them dangerous. In a situation like TanaCon, can someone be held responsible for patrons’ injuries?
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
When you go to a festival, you’re hoping to let loose and get your groove on. You’re anticipating having fun—you’re not anticipating sustaining an injury. However, being in a crowded space exposes you to many risks that can result in an injury. There’s an endless list of things that can go wrong: from falling down and breaking a bone, to getting a head injury, to being attacked by another festivalgoer, to being trampled.
Here are some tips for how to stay safe at a festival this summer:
- Stay hydrated: being outdoors can dehydrate you, even if the weather isn’t warm. Don’t forget to drink water throughout.
- Don’t get sunburned: cover up and put on sunscreen.
- Get rest: many accidents are able happen because people are tired and not as sharp-witted as they would usually be.
- Avoid the crowd: try to keep your distance, if possible. Stay out of the thick of things, just in case there’s a rush.
When you attend a large-scale event like a music festival, you are putting your safety in the hands of the organizers, the owners, the managers. You are trusting them to keep you safe, and you assume they are responsible enough to be able to ensure your safety. That’s a reasonable expectation to have. Those who host festivals should be able to guarantee a reasonable degree of safety for their customers. They need to plan ahead and make sure that there is enough security to protect patrons, that the property itself is physically safe, and that the food isn’t contaminated. In TanaCon and Fyre Festival, clear culprits were responsible for the madness that followed.
In other disastrous events, the guilty party could be the organizers, the owner of the venue, the manager, the artists, or the staff. Premises liability can apply to a festival in a number of ways. If code regulations were violated, a strong case can be made that the victims deserve compensation.
Event organizers might also be liable for third-party injuries. For example, if you were attacked by another festivalgoer, the person who caused your injury is liable, but the event organizer might be liable for your damages as well. If there was inadequate security, if they served too much alcohol to the attacker, those factors could make the organizers liable. Another situation is if you slipped and fell in the bathroom because there weren’t enough paper towels and people were dripping water onto the floor. Although that’s not directly caused by the event organizers, they should have had adequate supplies prepared to prevent foreseeable injuries from occurring.
Liability is circumstantial, and depends on the details of each case. Certain injuries might not have been prevented or foreseen, in which case the organizers would not be held liable.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a New Jersey personal injury lawyer after sustaining an injury at a festival. We have handled many similar cases, and may be able to figure out who can be held financially responsible for your injuries. Call Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., at (609) 240-0040 to discuss your case in a free consultation.
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