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Four event disasters South Africans will never forget

Put thousands of people in a concentrated space, add an atmosphere of excitement and the result is often, unfortunately, disaster. While some things — like the weather — remain out of the control of event organisers, there are multiple ways to mitigate against event disasters and safeguard attendees, performers and vendors. Unfortunately, these four events ended catastrophically due to negligence, poor planning, corruption, or a combination of the three.

The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 at FNB Stadium, 2018

A night of celebration that saw superstars like Beyoncé, Jay Z and Pharrel Williams ended in disaster when concertgoers were attacked outside of the FNB Stadium in Soweto in the early hours of the morning. Despite the large crowds, criminal youths robbed concertgoers of handbags cellphones and other valuables as they were making their way home. Despite the proximity to the stadium, there was no security or police presence in the area, making easy targets of thousands of attendees. 


Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Ellis Park, 2001

One of the most tragic event disasters occurred when 43 people were crushed to death during a stampede due to overcrowding. Another 250 people were injured. It was reported that the stadium was almost at double its intended capacity after SAPS spokespeople put the estimated number of attendees at 120 000 in a space designed to hold 60 000. South African soccer fans were outraged at the lack of security measures that would have prevented additional fans from entering the stadium.


Linkin Park at Green Point Stadium, 2012

Fourteen concertgoers were injured, and one young woman died when a structure collapsed outside the Greenpoint stadium shortly before the concert began. Gale force winds tipped over a Gatorade banner that was supported by scaffolding, despite the approval of structural engineers. Angry fans took to social media to express their sorrow, as well as anger that concert organisers hadn’t postponed the concert due to powerful winds. No mention was made of the incident by band members, further angering fans who felt that it was in bad taste to perform without acknowledge the accident. 


Sam Smith at Grand West Arena, 2019

Capetonian fans of Sam Smith fans were left wanting after UK singer Sam Smith halted his much-anticipated performance 45 minutes into his set. Citing the cause as vocal strain, concert organisers Big Concerts initially reassured fans that he would honor the remaining two concerts, after which it was announced that they had been cancelled. While fans did get to enjoy 45 minutes of their favorite crooner, they took to social media to express their disappointment over Smith’s decision to stop performing. Thousands of fans were reimbursed, which costs concert organisers a pretty penny.


Whether you’re orchestrating a large scale event like a concert of conference, or an intimate corporate event, make sure you and your guests are protected should things go awry. Get a free quote from reputable insurance providers, by filling out the form above.

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