Ten charged over Love Parade tragedy
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2014

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   Ten people have been charged under German law with negligent manslaughter in relation to the to the fatal stampede that occurred at Germany’s Love Parade festival in 2010 which left 21 people dead and over five hundred more injured. The Festival, which began in 1989 as a Berlin-based free event, began travelling to different German cities each year in 2007, and was taking place in Duisburg in 2010. The event was always well attended, and though turnouts had fallen in the years prior to 2010, it was estimated by investigators that almost half a million people had attended that year on the site on a former freight rail yard. The site’s capacity, however, was 250,000 and despite the large number of people attending, crowds entering were funnelled through a single underpass, which quickly became crowded on the Saturday morning of the event there was a surge in the crowd, which caused panic in the tunnel followed by a stampede. Six of the event’s organisers and four city workers have been charged with negligent manslaughter and bodily harm. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison each. All deny any wrongdoing. The…

Fishbone frontman faces $1.37 million damages claim over stagedive
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2014

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The frontman of American rock band Fishbone is facing a damages claim in the region of $1.37 million after injuring an audience member in a mid-show leap from the stage in 2010. At the gig at the World Live Cafe in Philadelphia, Kimberly Myers was knocked to the ground after Fishbone vocalist Angelo Moore performed his customary stagedive. She suffering a skull fracture in the fall and sued the show’s promoter and the band’s management in 2010, reaching settlements with both, but began new legal proceedings against the band in 2012 for negligence. Moore failed to respond to the 2012 lawsuit but Judge Jan DuBois based his ruling on the matter on a deposition the Fishbone man gave as part of the 2010 legal action: In that deposition, Moore admitted that he routinely leapt into his audience during his gigs without warning, arguing that alerting audience members to his intent “gives away the whole theatrics or the spontaneity”. He also apparently admitted that audience injuries were not uncommon, but when asked about the risks of stagediving he cited the danger that he might hit the floor, and that lawsuit “predators” might come after…

Live Nation charged over fatal stage collapse

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   CMU Daily reported that the Ministry Of Labour in Ontario is pursuing charges against three companies and one individual in relation to the stage collapse that occurred ahead of a Radiohead show in Toronto last June which resulted in the tragic death of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson. Mr Johnson was killed after a scaffolding structure collapsed onto the open-air stage before any audience members had been admitted. The show was promoted by Live Nation, and the company and its Ontario subsidiary both face four charges under the Canadian province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Optex Staging & Services Inc has also been charged over four alleged breaches of health and safety laws, while engineer Dominic Cugliari faces one charge. Live Nation has already denied the charges, telling Billboard: “We wholeheartedly disagree with the charges brought against us by the Ministry Of Labour. We absolutely maintain that Live Nation and our employees did everything possible to ensure the safety of anyone who was on or near the stage involved in the tragic incident that led to the unfortunate death of Mr Scott Johnson” adding “We will vigorously defend ourselves and we are confident…

Kiss fan sues Live Nation over cannon blast
Health & Safety , Live Events / April 2013

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector                           A Kiss fan is suing Live Nation after being allegedly injured by debris discharged by a cannon during a show by the flamboyant rockers at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St Louis, Missouri in August last year. It seems that the claimant, William Mueller Jr, was already receiving treatment for brain cancer at the time of the show and his claim says that he was injured after the on-stage cannon “exploded and with great force launched a metal ratchet tie-down strap” that hit the claimant, who was standing by his allotted seat at the time. Noting that Mueller was already in a “weakened and vulnerable condition” because of his illness, the lawsuit says: “[The] defendants owed to [the] plaintiff the duty to exercise the highest degree of care for his safety. [The] defendants’ actions, conduct, or omissions were negligent, negligent per se, or both and were not those of a reasonably prudent person”. The defendants in the action are Live Nation, and the members of Kiss are not (currently) listed as defendants.   http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/03/20/55886.htm

Brazilian nightclub owner wishes ‘he had never been born’
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2013

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   The owner of the Kiss nightclub in southern Brazil where 238 people died in a fire has said he wishes he had never been born, and has deflected blame to architects, safety inspectors and “the whole country”. His lawyer,  Jader Marques, said his client, Elissandro Spohr (28), “regretted having ever been born” because of his grief over the fire, but still blamed Sunday’s tragedy on “a succession of errors made by the whole country.” Spohr and co-owner Mauro Hoffman had been arrested, along with  Gurizada Fandangueira member Marcelo Santos, who was arrested at the wake of band member Danilo Jacques who died in the fire. As the toll of those injured continued to grow as some 22 of those who escaped returned to hospital with respiratory complications, police investigating the blaze have confirmed it is likely to have started when the band Gurizada Fandangueira lit an allegedly cheap outdoor flare, which ignited soundproofing foam on the ceiling. That initial error was compounded by the near-total lack of emergency infrastructure such as a fire alarms or sprinkler systems. It also seems that the club also had only one working door, one or more faulty and sub-standard fire…

Four arrested in aftermath of Brazillian nighclub disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / February 2013

HEATH & SAFETY Live events sector At least 231 people have died in a fire in a Brazilian nightclub, with fears that the death toll could rise further. The blaze, at the Kiss nightclub in the city of Santa Maria, in the south of Brazil, apparently began when a band lit a flare or fireworks which ignited sound proofing foam on the ceiling. Guitarist Rodrigo Martins, whose band Gurizada Fandangueira was playing at the time of the fire told Radio Gaucha: “We had played around five songs when I looked up and noticed the roof was burning. It might have happened because of the Sputnik, the machine we use to create a luminous effect with sparks. When the fire started, a guard passed us a fire extinguisher, and our singer tried to use it but it wasn’t working”. Reports suggest that as furniture and fittings in the club started to burn, toxic fumes spread, adding to the death toll. Eyewitnesses also say that fire extinguishers in the venue didn’t work, and that the evacuation of the building was hindered because security guards – not realising what was happening inside – wouldn’t let people leave the club before they had settled…

Four dead in Spanish festival tragedy
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2012

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   Four young women have been killed at a festival in Madrid on Wednesday night after a crowd surge in a reportedly over-packed venue. The Thriller Music Park event took place at the 12,000 capacity Madrid Arena, though a licence for the show allowed 10,600 tickets to be sold. Promoters insist the venue was not over capacity, and say that the event had actually not quite sold out. Some audience members have disagreed with that claim on the social networks, one estimating up to 20,000 people were in the building at the time, though there is evidence to suggest that the problem wasn’t venue-wide overcrowding, but a bottleneck around one exit from the main arena. Some gig-goers have also claimed not enough exits were open during the event, with some claiming only one was available for much of the night. The event was headlined by DJ Steve Aoki. Promoters say that they believe the fatal surge was caused when a flare went off within the audience area, though some bystanders have subsequently claimed the flare occurred sometime after the crush began. Emergency staff were called to the scene at about 4am and found five people in distress: two were…

Advertising scaffold collapse kills one and injures nineteen in Cape Town
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2012

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   One woman died and nineteen others were injured while queuing for a Linkin Park concert in Cape Town on Wednesday night after temporary scaffolding built to host advertising by Lucozade collapsed in strong winds. Twelve of those injured required hospital treatment, while a city spokeswoman confirmed to media that one of those near the scaffolding when it collapsed, Florentina Heaven-Popa, had died from her injuries. The Linkin Park gig went ahead, despite the bad weather and resulting scaffolding collapse, with the band unaware of the injuries and fatality until after the show but the band subsequently posted a message on their website expressing “deep sadness and concern for those injured and our heartfelt condolences to the family of the fan who died as a result of her injuries”. The band have no connection to Lucozade or the scaffolding company. The City of Cape Town has appointed structural engineering firm, Vela VKE, and an aerodynamics expert to investigate and assess the scaffolding structure which collapsed. http://www.iccmss.co.uk/2012/11/city-of-cape-town-appoint-experts-to-investigate-the-collapse-of-advertising-structure/

Israeli arrests after lighting rig collapse in Jerusalem
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2012

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector   Judges in Jerusalem have extended the detention of four people arrested on suspicion of involvement in the collapse of a lighting rig at Mount Herzl in Israel, which killed a woman soldier and injured seven others. IDF 2nd Lt. Hila Bezaleli, was killed during rehearsals for the Independence Day ceremony at the national cemetery site. Initially three suspects were held: Oren Warshavsky, who was said to have been the engineer for the rig; Itzik Zucker, the site’s safety manager; and Elad Lavi, the vice president of Itzuv Bama, the firm that had been the successful bidder to produce the Independence Day event. All three were ordered to be released by a magistrate’s court judge but at the request of the police, the order was stayed to give the police an opportunity to appeal to the District Court and explain the responsibilities, relationships  and working practices at the site. District Court Judge Joseph Shapira ordered the three to remain in custody. Although Magistrate’s Court Judge Haim Li-Ran had initially taken the police to task for acting too quickly to arrest the three, Judge Shapira ruled the action was justified out of concern that the…

M5 crash: fireworks display organiser charged with manslaughter
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2012

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events sector The organiser of a fireworks display at a rugby club near the M5 has been charged with manslaughter following a pile up on the motorway which killed seven people. Geoffrey Counsell, 50, from Somerset, had provided a fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club in a field close to the M5 motorway on 4 November 2011 when 34 vehicles crashed into each other. Seven people were killed and 51 were injured in the pile up. Rescue workers at the time described it as the worst British motorway accident in memory and witnesses described poor visibility on the motorway where the crash happened. In a joint statement, Avon and Somerset Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, said last night: “Today the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Avon and Somerset Police to charge Geoffrey Counsell with seven counts of manslaughter following the deaths of Anthony and Pamela Adams, Maggie and Michael Barton, Malcolm Beacham, Terry Brice and Kye Thomas in a collision on the M5 in November 2011” adding “Having considered the evidence … the CPS decided there was sufficient evidence to charge Geoffrey Counsell, the provider of the fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club on the…

Indiana State Fair claims proceed to court after settlement rejected
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2012

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events industry   The owner of the stage that collapsed at Indiana’s State Fair last year, just before country duo Sugarland were due to perform in the tragedy which killed seven people, has rejected a settlement plan that would have protected the State from further legal action. Mid-America Sound said not enough of the victims had agreed to the deal. Of the 62 claimants, which include people who were injured and the estates of those who died, only 51 agreed to the settlement by the August 1st deadline and amongst  those rejecting the deal were the families of three women killed when strong winds toppled the stage into a crowd on August 13th , 2011. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller had proposed the joint settlement, which asked victims to agree to settle their claims for shares of $6 million from the state and $7.2 million from Mid-America who leased the stage for the Fair, and the stage’s manufacturer, James Thomas Engineering. In exchange, the victims would agree not to seek additional compensation. Mid-America had previously indicated that it would rely on invoices signed by State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye after the stage collapse that included…

Beer tent collapse leaves one dead and seventeen hospitalised

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Over 100 people were injured when a beer tent collapsed in St Louis, Illinois, where fans were celebrating. One patron, Alfred Goodman (58) died, seventeen were hospitalised and two remained in intensive care at the time of writing. High winds and severe weather were blamed for the collapse and Eddie Roth, director of Public Safety for the city of St. Louis, said the incident happened an hour after the St. Louis Cardinals-Milwaukee Brewers game ended. The National Weather Service reported winds of 50 miles per hour picked up the large tent at Kilroy’s bar and Art Randall, the owner the bar, said “everything that was not nailed down was picked up and thrown” adding “everything was going sideways. I had metal chairs ripping across the beer garden”. Building Commissioner Frank Oswald said Kilroy’s was granted a tent permit on April 11th and it passed inspection a couple days later. He said the city of St. Louis requires tents to be able to withstand winds up to 90 mph. The wind gust that destroyed the tent, shattering the aluminium poles and blowing the structure onto nearby railroad tracks, was measured at over 70 mph. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/29/st-louis-tent-collapse-raises-safety-questions/…

First investigation under new NZ security industry laws

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry   An official investigation is under way into the appointment of an unlicensed security firm as security contractor at Eden Park, Auckland Council and Vector Arena in New Zealand in a “possible breach of a new law designed to clean up the industry”. Platform 4 Group, a new company incorporated in December 2011, won the stadium contract despite being unlicensed. Under a recent New Zealand laws, security firms must be licensed to do any work including crowd control. Platform 4 have applied for a licence (in December) but this was not completed at the time the contracts were awarded. In light of this it seems Platform 4 Group teamed up with a licensed company, Harrison Tew Consultants, to take over the contract. The New Zealand Herald reports that “Harrison Tew – staffed by two directors to provide emergency planning for schools but with no crowd-control experience – then employed Platform 4 casual staff and independent contractors to provide security at events” A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, which administers the Security Licensing Authority, confirmed the matter was referred to the newly formed Complaints, Investigations and Prosecutions Unit at the Department of Internal Affairs…

Sugarland prompt angry reaction by daring to suggest fans may be partially to blame
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2012

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Lawyers working for Sugarland, who are facing multiple legal actions after the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair last August in extreme weather, have reportedly filed a defence stating the injuries suffered by claimants were, at least in part, to blame for their own actions, for failing “to exercise due care for their own safety”. As previously reported, seven fans died and 40 more were injured when staging collapsed in freak high-speed winds shortly before Sugarland were due to take to the stage at the State Fair. The band themselves fare facing actions because their contract with the State Fair gave them the right to cancel the show in extreme weather conditions. The State of Indiana has already settled the matter for $5 million, its maximum liability under state law although is considering adding another $5 million to cover victim’s medical bills. The move by Sugarland’s lawyers prompted outrage online and in the media and in response, the bad issued a statement saying: “Sadly when a tragedy occurs, people want to point fingers and try to sensationalise the disaster. The single most important thing to Sugarland are their fans. Their support and love…

State of Indiana settles in Sugarland tragedy
Health & Safety , Live Events / January 2012

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Events Industry The State Of Indiana has now reached settlements with 63 of the 65 claimants after the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in August when 7 people died and over 40 more were injured when one of the stages at the State Fair collapsed when hit by freak winds just before a concert featuring country duo Sugarland was about to begin.  State Law limited that liability to a total of $5 million. Officials have also distributed almost $800,000 donated by the public after the incident. 48 affected parties have also begun legal proceedings against Sugarland and their business associates, on the basis the band had a contractual right to cancel the show over weather concerns, and were therefore negligent not to exercise that right. http://www.mxdwn.com/2011/12/25/news/state-of-indiana-settles-with-victims-of-sugarland-stage-collapse/

Sugarland named in law suit after weather disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Country duo Sugarland have been named as defendants in a lawsuit in the US relating to the stage collapse tragedy that occurred at the Indiana State Fair back in August when freak 60mph gusts of wind blew over the State Fair’s site just before the country act were due to perform in the event’s main arena, bringing stage rigging crashing to the ground on top of waiting audience members. In total, seven people died and over 40 were injured. USA Today had previously reported that over 90 people made claims against the State of Indiana, whose liability under State law is limited to $5 million in total. A handful of other legal claims have been against various other parties linked to the fair and the Sugarland performance, though the new lawsuit represents 48 parties and specifically targets the band and others associated with their show.  Interestingly the lawsuit notes that Sugarland’s contract with the State Fair’s organisers, negotiated by the Creative Artists Agency, specifically gave them the power to cancel their performance if there were weather concerns, and therefore the band and their associates are being held liable for failing to do so. One…

Court of Appeal limits rugby club’s liability to injured player
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry In a case which is of particular interest to the sporting sector, the Court of Appeal has ruled that an award by the County Court of £54,000 to a young rugby player who was injured playing for an under-17s team after he fractured his right kneecap was wrong and must be re-paid along with court costs.  The case follows on from the decisions in Tomlinson v Congleton Borough Council [2003] UKHL 47  and Lewis v Six Continents  [2005] EWCA Civ. 1805  which both go some way in limiting liability in the face of the ever increasing number of personal injury claims and protecting potentially risky but “useful” activities such as playing sport. Jack Sutton, 20, was 16 and playing at Syston Rugby Club in Leicestershire when he was injured by the “sharp stub” of a broken plastic cricket boundary marker. He sued the club claiming there had not been an adequate pitch inspection Overturning the payout, Lord Justice Longmore said: “It is important that neither the game’s professional organisation, nor the law, should lay down standards that are too difficult for ordinary coaches and match organisers to meet adding “Games of rugby are, after all, no more than…

Pukklepop will go ahead in 2012
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Belgian music festival Pukkelpop will go ahead next year, despite the tragedy which struck this year’s event when four people were killed after a stage collapse when a freak storm hit the festival site on the opening day of Pukkelpop 2011. 70 other people were injured as lighting rigs and large screens also fell. Following an investigation by the Hasselt Public Prosecutor, a ‘force majeure’ ruling was put in place, stating that the festival’s organisers could not be held liable for what happened. This means the Festival will not face prosecution, but reportedly will not be able to make a claim against its liability insurance cover – although it turn those wishing to bring a civil law claim against the Festival may face an additional hurdle in proving fault and liability. The Festival will take place between the 16th and 18th August 2012 and customers who had bought a ticket for the cancelled 2011 event will receive free food and drink vouchers, valued at 75 euros and 150 euros respectively which can be used at any of the next three Pukklepop festivals. For damages to items such as lost or broken camping equipment, festivalgoers will be…

Sugarland could face lawsuit over Indiana stage collapse
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry   One month after six fans died in the collapse of stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair in America, the family of a 22 year old fan may sue the band whose concert she was there to see. Sugarland have been named in a legal notice by Jennifer Haskell’s parents and sister, charging them with “gross negligence and/or recklessness” over the disaster. Thanks to Cass Williams for alerting us to this update. Haskell and her friend Alina Bigjohny were both in the front row on 13 August, where Sugarland were booked as headliners for the annual State Fair. But as high winds lashed the site, the mainstage scaffolding began to buckle. Haskell, Bigjohny and others were crushed when 40,000lbs of lighting, speakers and other equipment collapsed into the crowd. Although Indiana’s attorney general, Greg Zoeller, has announced a $5m fund to benefit victims of the disaster, several families plan to sue the organizers and others involved with the event. Now, Sugarland themselves are being blamed for the incident, together with their “members, agents and employees”. The Grammy-winning country band are one of 15 defendants named in the Haskells’ filing, seeking damages for the 22-year-old’s injuries and “wrongful…

Five dead in Pukklepop storm disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry At least five people have died and many more injured at the 60,000 capacity Pukklepop Festival in Belgium after a storm swept through a popular open-air music festival in the town of Hasselt, 50 miles east of Brussels. The storm hit the site in the late afternoon on Thursday 18th August. Concertgoers described scenes of panic as the sky darkened, the winds whipped, rain poured, hailstones nearly half an inch across pelted the crowds, and concert structures buckled. The worst affected area was the Chateau Stage which collapsed as the Smith Westerns began their set.  Lead singer Cullen Omori  told Pitchfork: “We had just finished the first song of our set at Pukkelpop when the stage/tent started shaking. We simply thought it was a storm passing through. I made a comment about Cheap Trick, and we were about to play the next one, when our tour manager yelled at me to run off the stage. Right then the tress collapsed one foot in front of Max. At this point we thought only the stage broke, not the tent. Amid the chaos it was hard to tell exactly what had happened, but after the rescue teams started coming in it became clear…

Six die in Indiana rigging collapse during storm
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events Six people have died after stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis collapsed after being hit by 70mph freak gusts of wind just before country stars Sugarland were due to take to the stage. An announcement warned concert-goers that a storm was approaching BUT and critically it seems also said that it was hoped Sugarland’s concert could go ahead: Seconds later strong winds blew up in the space of seconds and a large stage rig collapsed onto the waiting crowd. According to local media reports, four people died immediately, while one more died later in hospital. Over 40 others were being treated for injuries incurred during the stage collapse. . One member of the audience managed to film the incident State Governor Mitch Daniels told reporters later that many precautions had been taken ahead of the event to cope with stormy weather, but that the stage collapse had been caused by a freak gust of wind – between 60 and 70 mph – that could not have been foreseen. It appears that Sugarland had delayed the start of their set to see how bad the weather was, potentially saving the band’s own and…

Danger in numbers – can mega-gigs ever truly be safe?
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2011

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events ARTICLE LINK  Concerts keep getting bigger – and so do the risks of deadly crushes. On the anniversary of the Love Parade tragedy, experts tell Dorian Lynskey how such disasters could be avoided.  Our thanks to Owen Grainer-Jones at the International Centre for Crowd Management and Security Studies at Bucks New University for alerting us to this interesting Guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jul/20/love-parade-crowd-safety-crush  and more articles on crowd safety at the ICCMSS website here http://www.crowdsafetymanagement.co.uk/press/

Forced to walk the line?
Health & Safety / March 2011

HEALTH AND SAFETY All areas We have all probably had the same experience of walking along a pavement and having to negotiate around someone else who is walking slowly, weaving or bumping into other pedestrians because he or she is talking on a cell phone, listening to an iPod or texting on a Blackberry. Now a US politician, Carl Kruger, the state senator from Brooklyn, NY, wants to make it illegal to use an electronic device whilst crossing city streets on foot. He has an ally in Arkansas state Senator Jimmy Jeffress, who wants to ban pedestrians from wearing headphones in both ears on or near a roadway. And in Australia New South Wales Police  have said “should legislation such as that described be introduced, it would receive our support and ongoing attention”, a U-turn from the 2007 view of  NSW Police State Traffic Commander John Hartley, who said when the US laws were first talked about, that “you can’t legislate stupidity”. The Pedestrian Council of Australia said there should be a much stricter legislation and an enforcement campaign to complement an awareness campaign. They also said device manufacturers had a “moral and corporate responsibility” to put warnings on their…

Reeperbahn Campus Conference concludes with thoughts of Love Parade
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2010

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events industry Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the tragedy at the Love Parade in Duisburg that focussed minds at the Reeperbahn Campus Conference, with delegates concluding that more should be done to share crowd management knowledge and experience across Europe, both within the live entertainment sector, and also with those in local government who regulate large scale events. Jens Michow, boss of trade body BDV said “With a tragedy this size, of course there will be a reaction, with people and government calling for new rules or regulations” but added “but in reality German law is already quite extensive in this area, and a lot of the new regulations being informally called for post-Duisburg are already there in the law … that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement”, he conceded. “Especially regarding the way venues and promoters agree security arrangements; but it’s important people don’t get hysterical here and overlook the protection that already exists in Germany”. But it was the lack of information, in particular with Local Authorities, that was talked about. Delegates pointed out that there was a lot of “great knowledge out there across Europe about how best to manage large events” but…

US hearing loss case settled
Health & Safety , Live Events / September 2010

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry A lawsuit brought in the USA by an audience member and her husband who claimed that their hearing was damaged after being seated near a PA stack at Whitesnake concert in Orpheum Theatre in Massachusetts has been settled. Maryellen Burns claimed she suffered long term hearing loss which included the shearing of nerves cells in her cochlea. The Massachusetts Appeals Court confired that a sum of $40,000 had been paid. http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/whitesnake_lose_hearing_law_suit.html

Four charged in Thai nightclub disaster
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2010

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry Four people have been formally charged over the New Year’s Eve nightclub fire in Bangkok that left 67 people dead at the Santika nightclub in Bangkok. Three Santika employees and the lead singer of the band on stage when the fire broke out (Burn) have been charged with various counts of gross negligence. The fire broke out in the packed club as about 1,000 people were celebrating the start of the New Year. Hundreds of people were trapped inside the building, which had no proper fire exits, no sprinkler system, no emergency lights and was registered as a private residence. Witnesses said people were trying to find their way to the single exit using their mobile phones for light. The club was in an area where nightclubs were banned, the owners had failed to get an entertainment licence and the city architect’s signature on the building design approval had been forged according to a Ministry of Justice investigation. Thai police have been criticised for the slow pace of their investigation and there have been many accusations of lax enforcement of fire regulations. Band singer Saravuth Ariya has been charged with setting off the fireworks that police believe…

US appellate court applies assumption of risk in dismissing mosh pit case
Health & Safety , Live Events / February 2010

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live events industry A New York appellate court has, for the first time, applied the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk to a claim of injury sustained in or in the vicinity of a mosh pit. In Schoneboom v. BB King Blues Club, 2009 NY Slip Op 08160 (November 12, 2009), the Appellate Division, First Department held that a club patron was barred by the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk from seeking damages for injuries suffered when an identified person in a group of slam dancers slammed into him. The First Department decision affirmed the order of Justice Marcy Friedman, sitting in Supreme Court, New York County, granting summary judgment. Justice Friedman had noted that the 36-year-old plaintiff testified that he was standing in the vicinity of “a lot of people bouncing around, bouncing off each other,” but that he did not participate in the fun. Notwithstanding this rather interesting claim, Justice Friedman held that the plaintiff, an experienced concertgoer, assumed the risk of being struck by a fellow concertgoer when, although conscious that an aggressive type of moshing was in progress, he deliberately placed himself in proximity to it. Justice Friedman had also rejected…

US Court dismisses claim for hearing damage from the iPod
Health & Safety / February 2010

HEALTH & SAFETY Electronic equipment In a separate case, a lawsuit that blamed Apple’s iPod music player for causing hearing loss has failed before a US federal appeals court (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) which upheld a 2008 San Francisco District Court judgment that Apple was not liable for hearing damage despite consumers being able to crank up the volume to a potentially dangerous 115 dB. The appeal argued that consumers couldn’t know what damage was done to their hearing because the device doesn’t come with a decibel meter. It was also claimed that the earbuds that come with the iPod increase the risk that damage could occur because they are designed to be placed inside the ear. In dismissing an appeal a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals called the claims “obvious” and said that a reasonable person could easily avoid hearing loss by turning the volume down – and that the iPod did come with a warning saying . The Court said “the plaintiffs do not allege the iPods failed to do anything they were designed to do nor do they allege that they, or any others, have suffered or are substantially certain to suffer…

118 dead in Russian nightclub blaze
Health & Safety , Live Events / January 2010

HEALTH AND SAFETY Live event industry At least 118 revellers have been confirmed as dead after a nightclub fire in Perm, Russia. The fire, which was apparently started by pyrotechnic fountains let off inside the Lame Horse nightclub, seems to have ignited the ceiling and amateur video footage shows patrons rushing to escape the blaze in thick smoke with panicked clubbers crushing each other to death as they tried to flee a fast-moving fire late on Friday 4th Dec. Russian police have arrested four people including the club manager. Officials said most of the dead suffered smoke inhalation or were crushed at the exit with chief prosecutor for the Perm region Marina Zabbarova saying “The fire spread very quickly …. panic arose which led to a mass death of people”. Svetlana Kuvshinova, who was in the nightclub when the blaze broke out, told the AP it started after three fireworks fountains spewed sparks, igniting the plastic ceiling saying “The fire took seconds to spread,” she said. “It was like a dry haystack. There was only one way out. They nearly stampeded me.” Reports also say that the club, which was celebrating its 8th birthday, had only one exit. Russian TV say…

Second death at Madonna stage collapse
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2009

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events industry A British worker, Charles Prow aged 13 has been named as the second person to die following the tragic stage roof collapse in Marseilles. The death of French worker, Charles Criscenzo (aged 50) had already been confirmed. The condition of two other people was described as serious and thirty six other people have injuries, some with minor injuries and shock. Madonna has said that she was appalled by the incident saying “two men lost their lives which is a great tragedy to me. I feel so devastated to be in any way associated with anyone’s suffering”. Police are now interviewing witnesses, studying videotape footage and reading commercial contracts with a view to establishing is a charge of causing death unintentionally at a place of work could be brought and if health and safety regulations, procedures and standards had been met. The incident happened on Thursday 16th July when the roof of a stage for Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet tour was being built at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome collapsed. Maurice Di Nocera, from the Marseilles local authority said on radio that the roof had been about two-thirds complete and that it collapsed gradually allowing most workers to evacuate the area. …

Allowing smoking means Authority can revoke premises licence
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2009

HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry A local authority is entitled to revoke a premises licence where the licensee has been convicted of not preventing smoking and has stated that he intends to continue not to prevent smoking. As a crime has been committed and further crime may be committed the Authority may use the preventing crime from the ‘preventing crime and disorder’ licensing objective to justify the revocation. ‘Crime and disorder’ is a disjunctive and the Authority need not prove that disorder was occurring as well as the crime of permitting smoking. R (Blackpool Council) v Howitt  173 JPR 101.

Police Licensing Act objections force Moonfest cancellation
Health & Safety , Licensing , Live Events / September 2008

LICENSING / HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry For the first time in the UK the police have used Section 160 (orders to close premises in an area experiencing disorder) of the Licensing Act 2003 to get a live festival performance stopped. Wiltshire Constabulary applied to the Magistrates to ban a festival appearance by Pete Doherty and his band Babyshambles on the grounds that there could be public disorder and applied to have the whole of the Friday of the Moonfest festival be scrapped due to crowd control issues. A Closure Order may be made by a Magistrates’ Court on application by the Police where the Court is of the opinion that closure is necessary in the interests of public safety because of order or likely disorder on the premises, or in the vicinity and relate to, the premises and/or an order is necessary to ensure no public nuisance is or is likely to be caused by noise coming from the premises. North Wiltshire Magistrates agreed to the police application to cancel the show on the Friday. The Police made no application for Saturday and Sunday which featured The Australian Pink Floyd, Ozric Tentacles, Zenyth, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Shakatak, Heaven 17,…

Clear Channel in multi million dollar settlement over Great White Tragedy
Health & Safety , Live Events / March 2008

HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry (From The CMU Daily) Now here’s a warning to any US media entering into co-promotion deals with live music companies. American radio major Clear Channel may pay out $22 million in relation to that much previously reported 2003 fire at a Great White gig in Rhode Island where 100 people died. As previously reported, 100 people were killed and double that injured when The Station nightclub in West Warwick burned down during the 2003 gig by the LA rock band. The fire was caused by pyrotechnics used during the gig, and there was much dispute between the owners of the venue and the band’s management as to whether permission had been granted by the former to the latter to use the pyros in a venue that, it transpired, had very flammable sound proofing. Club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and Great White tour manager Dan Biechele all received criminal convictions: Biechele received a four year prison term with a further eleven years suspended in relation to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter. After a bitterly contested plea bargain, Michael Derderian, who purchased the foam for the venue, received a four year prison term and both…

New neighbours object to live music venue
Health & Safety , Licensing , Live Events / November 2007

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING  Live events industry  By Marc P Holmes The Birmingham Mail has reported a dispute concerning noise levels between the residents of a newly built housing development and a long-standing drinking hole in the traditionally vibrant Irish Quarter of Digbeth. The Spotted Dog public house now finds itself in a neighbourhood being regenerated with new residential buyers and tenants and has been served with a noise abatement order. The case raises interesting issues concerning the regulation of noise emanating from social and live music venues – if less tolerant new neighbours move into close proximity to boisterous neighbours, exactly what should the cost of harmony between the two parties amount to: the death of another live music venue or the daily donning of ear muffs for those unhappy residents? The answer is hopefully neither, with the soundproofing of new properties the most obvious solution. However, this then raises the critical issue – who is to bear the cost? In Australia, under the ‘agent of change’ doctrine, residential developers building city centre apartments are obliged by law to soundproof developments themselves: The owner of one live music venue objected to a three-storey apartment block being built in a warehouse shell behind his venue. The…

Ticket Touting – the Great Rock & Roll Swindle

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live Event Industry ARTICLE LINK –  “The city is wrapped in spring smog as a queue snakes its way around the Forum in Kentish Town. Even here in grubby north London, at 7pm on a weekday evening, with the modest attraction being the indie jangle of the Shins, every ticket has been sold. Except, of course, they haven’t. Easy to spot in the forest of skinny jeans are the oversized sports jackets and white trainers of the ticket touts, selling and reselling for a tasty profit ……. A useful article on touts – old style and the new bedroom tout using eBay and other online sites to sell tickets at often vast profits. ….” See the full article at http://music.guardian.co.uk/rock/story/0,,2050841,00.html see alsohttp://www.radionz.co.nz/news/latest/200704270750/music_promoter_asks_to_be_covered_by_anti-scalping_law

Will safety law kill clubs? Seattle club owners fear sprinkler rule is one business cost too many
Health & Safety , Live Events / December 2006

HEALTH & SAFETY Live Event Industry ARTICLE LINK: By Gene Stout at Seattle pi .con. In the wake of the Great White disaster in Rhode Island, nightclub owners in over 30 Seattle venues are scrambling to meet new fire requirements in time for a 1st December deadline. With costs ranging from US $15,000 to US$50,000 for each venue, many of the owners are questioning the sense of the new requirement and a number say they will close under the combined burdern of new Mayorial regulations, fire requirements and a smoking ban. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/291018_sprinklers03.html

The UK’s new Licensing Act rings in the changes
Health & Safety , Licensing , Live Events / December 2006

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live event industry As the merits of the Licensing Act 2003 become more apparent, members of a town band are furious after being told they couldn’t play Jingle Bells in their Christmas shows unless they paid for a licence – because the song has no religious content. Callington Town Band in Cornwall, a registered charity, is having to fork out £21 for each of seven temporary licences to cover their Christmas programme after Caradon District Council’s licensing department told the band it would fall foul of the Act which came in to force this April, if it played anything other than religion based carols during its seven Christmas concerts. The council said a temporary entertainment notice (TEN) was needed every time entertainment was provided in venues without public licences. That means festive favourites like Jingle Bells, White Christmas and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer need a licence whereas Christmas carols which are considered religious music do not. In London, Lambeth Council has revoked the premises licence of a Brixton nightclub where police discovered two loaded handguns and drugs during a raid earlier this month. The council’s licensing sub-committee took the decision to revoke the licence for the J-Bar in Stockwell Road, Brixton,…

Does Top Of The Pops need a licence?
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2006

HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry The iconic BBC chart show, Top of the Pops, may be breaking the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 law by hosting live music without a licence. Officials at Hammersmith & Fulham Council said it depended on whether the recordings at BBC Television Centre were interpreted as public or private events. The BBC maintained that the recording of live performances before a limited, invited studio audience has always been treated by the BBC and the council as constituting a live event not requiring a live performance licence. However the BBC accepted that if a different approach was now needed the BBC will apply for the appropriate licence.” It is understood that the council’s attention was reportedly drawn to the programme after it staged an open-air concert at TV Centre in London on Saturday featuring US rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4927542.stm

Public house fined for unlicensed door staff
Health & Safety , Live Events / November 2006

HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry A Pontypridd licensee has been fined £250 and ordered to pay £761 in costs at the Pontypridd Magistrates Court for using unlicensed doorstaff supplied by a security company. Terri Jenkins, who runs the Angharads public house, was taken to court by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council after licensing officers found the unlicensed staff working at the pub in July 2005. The staff had been supplied by a security company but under the Licensing Act 2003, licensees commit an offence if fail to prevent unlicensed doorstaff being deployed by a third party to their premises. Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council told the court that Jenkins had not shown due diligence and had failed to ensure that the door supervisors supplied were SIA (Security Industry Authority) licensed. http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/news_detail.aspx?articleid=22602

New noise penalties are proposed in UK
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2006

HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry Pubs that cause late-night noise will face the threat of a £500 on-the-spot fine under new government plans. If the matter goes to court the penalty for licensees could rise to £5,000 on conviction. Under the proposals, which are part of theClean Neighbourhoods and EnvironmentAct, councils will be given extra powers to deal with one-off incidents of noise. The changes, which come into effect in October, have been prompted by residents’ fears over later pub opening under the new licensing laws. Ben Bradshaw, local environment minister, explained that the new law will allow for penalties for one off incidents of noise rather than ongoing noise saying “With the new powers, local authorities can deal with one-off incidents of excessive noise from licensed premises in the same way they can from households: quickly and effectively.” Licensed premises could be fined for a one-off offence if they are creating excess noise between 11pm and 7am. Licensees have reacted angrily to the new rules. The Publican reports that James Harris (I think I went to school with him, Ed) licensee at the Half Moon in Putney, South London, said: “It’s another piece of legislation we could do without. The government…

Tunbridge Forum fights off moshpit claim
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2006

HEALTH & SAFETY Live event industry The Forum venue in Tunbridge Wells has won a legal battle after a judge threw out a claim brought by a member of the audience who was injured whilst ‘moshing’ at a Raging Speedhorn concert. The claim was brought on a “no win, no fee” basis. The venue received massive support from loyal music fans who raised over £10,000 from their own pockets towards legal costs estimated at over £20,000 and also generated a petition with over 15,000 signatures supporting the venue. Spokesman Mark Davyd pointed out that the Forum successfully argued that the venue had a disclaimer about mosh pits on all of their tickets, they had disclaimers on venue walls saying that customers shouldn’t get involved in moshing and a very heavily advertised policy that mosh pits were allowed but were by their very nature likely to cause injury. Davyd added that “it’s been extremely expensive to defend – but we were left with no choice ….. the other option was to accept that we would regularly have to fork out thousands of pounds to anybody that asked for it on the grounds that we were responsible for whatever they did to themselves. We…

Door staff ‘liability nightmare’ after Court of Appeal’s decision in Hawley v Luminar

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live event industry The Court of Appeal has followed the recent trend in extending vicarious liability for employees in the case of Hawley v Luminar (2006). It now seems that pubs and clubs may be responsible for the actions of door supervisors even if they do not directly employ them. It is already established law that if an employee, acting in the course of their employment, injures another, even if that employee’s actions go well beyond what they are trained or employed for for, their employers may well be held vicariously liable for their acts and will have to meet any consequential award of damages (see Mattis v Pollock t/a Flamingos Nightclub Times Law Report 16th July 2003 and archive Music Law Updates December 2003). In Hawley v Luminar the door supervisor was employed by an outside contractor but the court upheld the original judgment that as he had been seconded to club owner Luminar, Luminar had responsibility for his actions even though his immediate employer had the right to hire and fire and also paid his wages. In reaching this conclusion the court carefully considered who had control – and therefore responsibility for – the doorman’s actions. It…

Statutory objections to proposed new festival

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live Event Industry Plans for a major music festival in Waveney near Lowestoft in the UK could be scuppered after objections by the police, fire service and environmental health officers. The Organisers behind Eastern Haze 2006, due to be held at the 500 acre Somerleyton Hall estate near Lowestoft, have asked Waveney District Council for a time-limited premises licence to run the festival from Friday July 21 to Sunday July 23. The bill so far announced features Hawkwind and Dreadzone along with several local bands. Other planned attractions include a holistic area for therapies and readings and lots of activities for children including theatre shows, street theatre, puppetry and jewellery-making workshops. But letters to Waveney’s licensing officer from Suffolk police, the county’s fire service and the council’s own environmental health team, say they cannot support the application. The police state that they want to register objections on two grounds: The state that they have assessed the planned traffic management scheme and have “concerns over entry and exit routes due to the narrowness of the proposed routes and the potential for accidents and blockages, particularly in the event of an evacuation procedure from the venue”. The police…

Underage drinkers to target Fife pubs

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live Event Industry ARTICLE LINK:  Scotland is in the enviable position of rolling out their new licensing laws (and implementing their SIA door supervisor programme) with the benefit of hindsight – by learning from the mistakes made in England and Wales’s from the rushed and ill thought out Government and regulatory approaches. See details of the Licensing ( Scotland) Act 2005 by Angela Frewin in the Caterer http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2006/05/02/306513/Underage+drinkers+to+target+Fife+pubs+in+sting+operations.htm For more details on Scotland’s new licensing laws see:  http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=20646&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o%20%25B%20%25Y

Publicans fear that the Scottish Executive wants unhealthy bar food banned

HEALTH AND SAFETY / LICENSING Live event industry Whilst Scotland can learns from the Licensing Act mistakes in England, the downside is that Scottish legislators have even more time to dream up new restrictions and rules – the dreaded initiatives that are seizing up so much of life – in education – in health – in the legal system – and now in entertainment. If it was April 1 st I am sure I would have thought the following was a joke – but its not. The Scotsman reports that ‘Advisers’ to the Scottish Executive have come up with a new way of promoting healthy eating using the new licensing powers – by banning ‘unhealthy’ food such as pies and chips food in licensed premises – meaning customers only have a ‘healthy’ option. So is it goodbye to personal choice, fun and rock n roll and hello to smoke free, noise limited, salad bar nanny state gigs, festivals and venues in the future? Who will rid us of these turbulent advisors!!! See http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/61444.htmlhttp://news.scotsman.com/health.cfm?id=674232006

New licence granted in saturation zone

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live Event Industry The Publican reports that a bar chain is celebrating a landmark victory over a council after it was granted a licence for a new venue in a town’s saturation zone. Cannock-based operator Bar Sport has been give the green light by Loughborough magistrates to open a new bar in the town after winning an appeal overturning the local authority decision who felt that the new pub in an already ‘saturated zone’ would promote crime and disorder. Bar Sport argued that they would provide food and a dedicated customer taxi service. But please note the May 2006 Law Updates Archive for the recent High Court decision in R (J D Wetherspoon) v Guildford Borough Council upholding the prima facie legality of saturation zones (although blanket policies banning, for example, late night opening, are not legal). http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=20665&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%25o%20%25B%20%25Y

Mean Fiddler not liable for cost of police presence at Leeds Festival

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live Event Industry Reading Festival Limited v West Yorkshire Police Authority [2006] EWCA Civ 524 The Mean Fiddler Group (owner of Reading Festival Limited) has won a Court of Appeal battle over who pays to police major events. They had been ordered to pay West Yorkshire Police nearly £300,000 for its services at the Leeds Festival in 2003. But The Court of Appeal said that “special police services” had not been requested in 2003 and could not be recovered from the promoter. Lord Justice Scott Baker said the ruling had implications for major events and any large gatherings of the public. He said the court was being asked to decide on the dividing line between services the police must provide as part of its public duty and special services provided at the request of promoters, for which promoters must pay. Lord Justice Scott Baker said: “There is a strong argument that where promoters put on a function such as a music festival or sporting event which is attended by large numbers of the public, the police should be able to recover the additional cost they are put to for policing the event and the local…

New booklet explaining the Licensing Act 2003 published

HEALTH & SAFETY / LICENSING Live event industry Licensing experts Poppleston Allen has launched the latest edition of The Licensed Trade Guide. The booklet provides a run down on the details of the new Licensing Act. It covers areas such as the role of the licensing authority, licensing objectives and licensing policy, whilst also explaining the decision process behind the granting of a licence. Seehttp://www.pactltd.co.uk/ .