On Thursday, January 24 at The NAMM Show, ESTA, Projection Lights & Staging News, Front of House and the Event Safety Alliance will host a highly engaging event, overviewing strategies and exercises for optimizing safety in the entertainment field. Event Safety Alliance VP Steven Adelman will lead a series of interactive activities using data and social media posts to instruct event professionals how to anticipate crowd behavior. The session will focus on a specific tragedy from 2018: the Backstreet Boys evacuation in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Near the Oklahoma-Texas border, hundreds of fans patiently waited in line for a concert by Backstreet Boys. The weather forecast anticipated a heavy storm, but many fans held their positions despite the staff’s warnings. After all, they arrived early for this general admission event and understandably desired a great view of their favorite act.
KFOR Oklahoma reported on a couple in attendance named Brittany and Thomas Leach. Next to his wife, Thomas held a plastic tarp high overhead, shielding them from the heavy downpour. Flashes of lighting drew lines across the sky as the winds picked up, and attendees looked to the security staff. The staff called for evacuation but stopped short of mandating it. Reportedly, many of the security personnel retained their posts, and the crowd followed suit. The gusts climbed ever higher, reaching 70–80 miles per hour, until they crescendoed with a fury, tearing off the structure supporting the entrance.
Thomas, vision shielded by his tarp, was struck by the metal trellis and fell to the ground. Confused, he looked up and found blood pouring from his head. He suffered a concussion, sprained his neck and injured his back. Altogether, 14 people were hit by the metal structure, which required a forklift to pull its weight off several victims.
At NAMM, Steven Adelman will breaks down this event, with an eye to prevent future tragedy. He will present 30 minutes of lecture followed by 90 minutes of an interactive workshop. This looks to be a must-see event for all event technology attendees.