Staying Safe: Crowd Surges


Lost in the Crowd: Picture taken at the Dayglow performance in Boston. Photo Courtesy: Victoria Koenig, October 16, 2021.

Katharine Harrison, Overall Manager

     A night many hip-hop fans had dreamed of quickly turned into a nightmare on November 5 at a Travis Scott concert.

     According to USA Today, many celebrities have spoken out following the tragedy, with at least ten people dead. The most recent, a nine year old boy who according to his father, was

     Many people are unsure of what happened; lots of confusion followed the chaos. Fans don’t know who to blame for the tragedy.

     Senior Owen McCabe is one such fan, though he did not attend the concert. While he likes Scott’s music, he says, “I was very shocked and I felt a lot of sympathy for the victims who were just trying to have fun.”

     Scott, however, took to Instagram with Kylie Jenner to tell fans he was unaware of the deaths until after the concert.

     Some people have never listened to Scott’s music, but have gone to other concerts where they experienced less intense crowds.

     “There wasn’t any violence or anything, there was a large crowd and people were pushing towards the front… but it was very physical and I could see how violence could break out and people could get hurt,” says senior Grace Tavitian, who attended a Dayglow concert this fall.

     Sadly, this is not a one-time occurence. Crowd surges and stampedes have been occurring for hundreds of years, with concerts being a catalyst in more recent years. According to ABC News, 11 people were killed in a stampede at a 1979 The Who concert in Cincinnati.

     In an NPR article, crowd behavior scientist Mehdi Moussaïd discusses what to do when trapped in a crowd surge.

     “Staying on your feet is important because if you fall, it’s going to be really difficult to stand up again, precisely because there are too many people,” Moussaïd says. 

     Moussaïd also details that people should preserve space around their chests. It’s also important to be proactive; people should look for an exit as soon as they become uncomfortable, before the crowd becomes so dense that they cannot breathe.

     Sergeant Stratton, a representative from the New Haven Police Department states, “We have a crowd control team for situations like that to get it under control.”

     Gaining control of a situation can look very different from place to place. “I don’t know much about the Travis Scott incident. We’ve never had to deal with an incident of that size,” Stratton continues. However, the New Haven P.D. has dealt with their fair share of protests.

     They also have a plan in place in case an incident like the Scott concert were to occur. “[The crowd control team needs] to find multiple exits to push people out without them stampeding each other.” 

     Stratton shares that the team must, “safely remove people causing issues to prevent further distress,” continuing, “it’s important to find a place of egress and slowly push people out.”

     The Milford Police Department was contacted, but were unable to respond at this time.