M83 Fans Bum-Rush The Floor from Village Voice Media on Vimeo .
Eric Grandy and I had to show our press passes to about 12>"/>
Eric Grandy and I had to show our press passes to about 12 different people to get access to the floor during M83's set in KeyArea during Bumbershoot this afternoon. Once we got there, we were surprised to see that the floor was barely a third full.
At some point during the set, a few more fans were let onto the floor. Then things got dangerous. A throng of fans pushed down the concrete stairs leading down to the floor, mob-style. A few security guards held dozens of fans back with their arms. The levee broke at several different points and fans made their way through to the concrete floor.
OK, so like I said: This was stupid. It was really dangerous. And it could change Bumbershoot forever. Here's why:
1. It was stupid. First of all, it was stupid that the floor was so empty. I'm waiting on word from Bumbershoot on why the floor was kept so empty to begin with. So, it should be said first that the problem may have been avoided if the floor had been at a reasonable capacity. (UPDATE: Bumbershoot says that the capacity of the floor is determined by the fire marshal, and that the same number of people were allowed onto the floor for, say, Gotye and M83. Personally, I've seen MANY shows in KeyArena, and have never seen as few people allowed onto the floor as were there when M83 took the stage.)
This is a bad picture I got of the scene going down. It was during one of the lulls. If you have better photos of what went down, please send them to me at email@example.com.
OK, that said, it was really, really stupid of the kids to do that. Gravity, concrete, and a mob mentality is a recipe for a trampling situation. Yes, it's fun, exhilerating, and "very rock and roll" in the moment. But -- yeah, I'm know I'm wearing my daddy voice right now -- but people have died that way. It's very hypocritical of me to say all of that, as I'll explain in a second.
2. It was dangerous. For the obvious reasons stated above. This shit was one ankle-sprain away from disaster. (And it should be noted that I left a song or two early -- leaving Grandy there to report out the rest of the set -- to get my blog on.)
3. It could change Bumbershoot forever. You may think that sounds like click-baiting hyperbole, but, well, history says otherwise. In 1997, Beck's set in Memorial Stadium was BEYOND BEYOND BEYOND capacity. A BUNCH OF KIDS bum-rushed security and gained access. Yes, I was one of those kids.
Because of that show, Bumbershoot changed their policy to require wristbands (limited quantity) for entrance into mainstage shows (when they were in Memorial Stadium; they're now in KeyArena). That changed the dynamic of the festival. The brass at One Reel -- the non-profit that puts Bumbershoot on -- told me a couple years ago that they were still feeling the effects of that show to this day (well, that day, two years ago). This incident wasn't as bad or large-scale as Beck's, but it could have gotten a lot worse really fast.
Yes, it's all fun and games until someone gets killed (Roskilde) or policies get changed that suck for everyone.
Update: Here's another video, taken by reader Ande Fegan (and linked below in the comment section).