Deadly Crowd Crush in New York Prompt Discussion on Concert Safety

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • The crowd crush in Rochester, New York, claimed the lives of two concertgoers and injured at least eight other people.
  • Police are investigating potential causes of the crowd crush, including crowd size, shots fired, and pepper spray.
  • This is the third major crowd crush in the last two years. It follows the tragedies at the Astroworld musical festival and in South Korea during Halloween festivities.
  • The SafeWise team has tips on what to do if you find yourself in a crowd crush.

A crowd surge in Rochester, N.Y., during a concert on Sunday, March 5, left two concertgoers dead and at least eight injured. The concert featured rappers GloRilla and Finesse2tymes at the Main Street Armory, a converted U.S. Army and National Guard facility. The venue reopened in 2007 as a refurbished event space.

With the summer concert and festival season coming up, staying safe in crowds is essential.

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Police in Rochester were called to the venue on Sunday night with reports of shots fired in the Armory. However, when they arrived, police said there was no evidence of a shooting and instead found a large crowd surge.

In a media release, the police department said they are “hearing many reports of potential causes, including crowd size, shots fired, pepper spray, and more.” In a separate statement, Lt. Nicholas Adams said, “the injuries appear to be as a result of a large crowd pushing towards the exits following accounts of individuals hearing what they believed to be gunshots.”

The city of Rochester and its police force are looking into possible safety violations that may have led to this crowd surge turning deadline. The venue has a maximum occupancy of 5,000 people, but city officials have yet to say if the crowd exceeded the limit during the concert on Sunday. The venue is up-to-date with all fire codes.

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said it’s “too early to say what precipitated the event.” An investigation is ongoing.

What to do during a crowd crush

A typical concert or festival experience can quickly turn deadly turn a crowd surge scenario. Last year, following the tragic Seoul crowd crush on Halloween, the SafeWise team and its group of experts came up with three tips.

1. Know your exits

When you arrive at a venue, immediately scope out the exits closest to you. This practice can help you in many scenarios—including in the unlikely event of a fire or active shooter—and is critical for leaving the venue safely. As you move through the venue, you may need to reassess which exit is closest to you. Always know which exit is nearest to where you are standing or sitting.

2. Stand in a boxing stance

If you find yourself in a crowd surge, the boxing stance can help you maintain your crowd. The stance focuses on balance and keeping your body steady. To get into a boxer stance, you put one foot out in front of the other and both hands up.

3. If you fall and can’t get up, stay on your side

Crowd surges use momentum to push people forward. In the event that you do fall, the important thing is to lie on your side to protect your heart and lungs. Do not lie on your stomach or your back. If you are on your stomach or back, people can fall on top of you, which risks a chest compression injury.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, SafeWise,,,,,,, and When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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