Memorials for Concertgoers

Official monuments dedicated to music fans killed in concert and festival disasters have been nonexistent until recently. Here are two memorials and a special "virtual memorial" that represent the new awareness of the moral and professional importance of remembering the victims and missteps or rock and roll's dark side.

 Big Day Out
 Sydney, Australia
George Michalik, father of Jessica, at the memorial for his daughter at the Sydney Showgrounds. Photo: I. Weir © 2002.
The crowd crush death of Jessica Michalik, 15, at Australia's annual Big Day Out festival at Sydney's Homebush stadium has focused attention on the treatment of young people at concerts in Australia in a manner never witnessed before. Ms. Michalik was among 50,000 to 60,000 other rock fans when she was caught in an unmanaged crowd surge and crush in a festival seating/standing room mosh area during the performance of the American band Limp Bizkit. The teenager never recovered from the crush and died a few days later while in the hospital.
 Roskilde Festival
 Roskilde, Denmark
Roskilde Festival '00 memorial. Orange Stage in the background. Crowd Management Strategies ©1999
The Roskilde Festival memorial is dedicated to the
nine young men killed in a standing room audience (festival seating/general admission) crowd crush in front of the Orange Stage (see photo) on June 30, 2000. The American band Pearl Jam was performing in front of approximately 50,000 people, possibly more, when the victims and others in the audience were crushed and trampled 30 to 40 feet from the stage.

The memorial includes nine trees, nine small stones and one large center stone inscribed with words of Danish poet Morten Sondergaard, "How fragile we are..." The memorial was dedicated at the opening of the 2001 Roskilde Festival.

 Troitsa Festival
 Minsk, Belarus
Triosta Festival memorial alongside entrance to the Nemiga subway station. Crowd Management Strategies ©1999
A memorial sculpture (see photo) located near the site of the crowd stampede and crowd crush that killed
53 people at the entrance to the Nemiga subway station on May 30, 1999.

A storm developed while approximately 2,500 people attending the annual outdoor Troitsa (beer) Festival enjoyed a performance by Russian pop band Mango Mango. Rain and hail began to shower the audience and other festivalgoers causing a rush for cover.

Lacking shelter and crowd supervision, witnesses say most in the audience ran to the nearby Nemiga underground subway station to escape the deluge. A disastrous crush and trampling occurred in the station passageway already populated by travelers. Those killed in the crush were almost all concertgoers, making this horrific crowd management tragedy the worst in rock concert history.

Memorial artist Gennady Buralkin chose to represent this terrible loss of life by sculpting a bouquet of flowers strewn across a set of granite steps. Because 80 percent of the victims were women, Mr. Buralkin chose roses and rosebuds (for female victims younger than 16-years-old) for the bouquet. Tulips were used to represent male victims.

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