In the wake of Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival tragedy, a mismanaged music fest that’s left ten dead and hundreds injured, many music fans and musicians are once more discussing how to handle a live show where things go terribly wrong. Now, Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe — who knows a thing or two about this sort of terrible situation, having spent five weeks in a Czech prison in 2012 after allegedly pushing a fan offstage and causing injuries that resulted in his death — has shared some practical advice for fans about how to let people know there’s something wrong.
“Tonight my band @lambofgod will play in front of thousands of people at the @welcometorockville festival in Florida,” wrote Blythe via his Instagram on Sunday, November 14th. “In light of the deaths at the Astroworld Fest in Houston, I’m posting some practical info. I will not retroactively armchair quarterback the whole Astroworld thing- suffice it to say, A LOT of shit went wrong in many ways. However, I BELIEVE THE BUCK ULTIMATELY STOPS WITH THE PERSON HOLDING THE MIC- anyone who knows my story knows that I have very sad, personal experience with not stopping an out of control show- it’s something I will carry with me to my grave. Being a spokesperson for safer shows is both my responsibility as a good man & the fulfillment of a face-to-face promise I made to the family of a dead fan. SO TO THAT END:
“#1) From personal experience, I can say that from the performer’s perspective onstage at a huge festival, it can be VERY DIFFICULT to tell if something has gone wrong in the audience- the noise of the music, the roar of the crowd, the lights in your face, the thousands of people moving all at once- it makes it very hard to ascertain if there is a problem or if people are just having a good time.
“If someone is hurt, screaming ‘STOP THE SHOW!’ at the band onstage doesn’t really work, because unless the entire audience is chanting that, it’s just gonna blend into all the noise.
“Waving your hands frantically in the air doesn’t really help either— it just looks like more movement in a sea of movement.
“What DOES help the audience let a performer know that something has gone wrong in the crowd?
“A SIGNAL. Here are 2 signals I’ve personally seen from the stage that have let me know that someone was injured in the crowd. We then COMPLETELY STOPPED the show until that person could be removed:
“A) arms held in an ‘x’ above your head (picture 1). This is a fairly universal signal that means STOP.
“B) the ‘time-out’ signal (picture 2- fingertips of one hand speared into the palm of the other)
“When I’ve seen several people doing these signals in a crowd together, it looks DIFFERENT than everyone else, & I’ve known something was wrong.
“#2) if someone falls, pick them up. That is how WE do it in OUR COMMUNITY.
View this post on Instagram
Words by Chris Krovatin