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Disaster highlights music festival hazards

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The disaster at the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium, where five people died and fifty were injured after a severe storm caused a stage to collapse, came as shocking news, especially so soon after another similar storm-related disaster in the United States where again five people died and forty were injured. The incident at the Indiana State Fair came just a few weeks after another similar event in Oklahoma and one a month before in Canada. Investigations will of course eventually uncover the reasons behind the stage collapses.

Whilst many summer music festivals go by without major incident like those in Belgium, the States and Canada, many will see festival goers sustain less serious accidents that don’t often make the national headlines.

The UK is well known for its wet summers and back in 2008 at the Staffordshire V Festival, heavy rain caused muddy and very slippery conditions which resulted in around nine people being taken to hospital with dislocations and fractures due to slips, trips and falls.

Crush injuries are common occurrences at music festivals where revellers are penned into enclosed areas in front of stages. Being struck or cut by thrown items such as bottles is another hazard as is hearing damage where noise levels exceed safe limits.

Many festivals feature fairgrounds and back in 2009 at the Sonisphere Festival, a 14 year old boy was injured and hospitalised after being thrown from a ride into a row of portable toilets. He suffered life-threatening chest injuries and internal bleeding plus injuries to his wrist and ankle.

Festival organisers have a duty to take reasonable and practicable steps to ensure the safety of all those attending and working at their events. If an accident occurs, and blame can be apportioned to the organisers, it would usually be possible to pursue them for compensation although evidence and witness support is crucial and sometimes part of the blame may fall at the feet of the festival goer.

At Stephensons, our specialist accident claims lawyers can represent those injured at outdoor events such as music festivals and are experts at collating sufficient evidence to maximise the chances of success. If you have been injured in an accident that was due to the negligence of an event organiser, you can speak to us in confidence by calling 01616 966 229.

By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney