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Prevention Strategies


Determining the risk factors positively associated with concert violence is challenging, but studies suggest many opportunities for intervention in an attempt to reduce the incidence and seriousness of concert violence.

Better data collection and reporting
Venues must do a better job of anticipating and planning for violent audience behaviors. (Janchar, 2000) To this end, public health must do a better job of collecting and disseminating data. A national database on concert violence should be established to allow venue owners to identify acts whose performances are regularly accompanied by violence. Reporting of incidents should be mandatory for all venues, regardless of size; however, as an interim step, venues should be contacted regularly by local health department employees for oral reporting. This database would allow alerts triggered by trends in concert violence surveillance, not unlike infectious disease.

No more general admission
While no study explicitly identified general admission policies as being positively associated with concert violence, several alluded to its role in increased crowd density and formation of mosh pits. (Milsten, 2003) It also bears mentioning that in the aftermath of The Who's Cincinnati tragedy, general admission concerts were banned in the city for almost 25 years. In addition, venues should be cautioned about selling beyond capacity, and should be subject to random fire marshal inspections.

Keep to schedule
The Cincinnati tragedy is raises an important issue about scheduling and communication. Venues should advertise times at which doors will open, as well as times at which each performer will take the stage, and then adhere to the schedule. Potential delays should be clearly communicated to audiences to squelch rumors.

Professional security
The additional cost may be prohibitive, but all venues should utilize professional security services. (Chapman, 1982) Furthermore, venue management should insist that security services provide accurate documentation of all violent incidents.

Onsite medical care
Onsite medical care should be required for all large concerts and multi-day festivals. Smaller venues should be required to have a specified proportion of employees certified in first aid.

Venue should plan and coordinate with local law enforcement and emergency departments to draft procedures for transporting injured concertgoers. (Chapman, 1982)

Limiting Drug and Alcohol Use
The majority of existing studies of concert violence acknowledge the suspected contribution of alcohol and drugs; however, none have attempted to assess it directly. Given the documented association of alcohol and drugs with aggressive behaviors, venues should observe strict policies of denying admittance to/not serving obviously intoxicated individuals, as well as removing intoxicated individuals at the first indication of violent behavior.

Limiting Projectiles
Multiple studies identified thrown projectiles as a major risk factor, and one which could easily be attenuated by limiting promotional giveaways and serving drinks in small, lightweight cups. (Hewitt, 1996; Milsten, 2003)

Lower volumes
Given the research on the association of volume and aggressive behavior (as well as physiological conditions such as tinnitus), venues should take steps toward reducing volume levels.

Teaching safer moshing
As long as "heavy" music and general admission policies exist, so will aggressive audience behaviors. Following the deaths at the 2000 Roskilde Festival, crowdsurfing was banned at the majority of European festivals. If moshing and crowdsurfing policies cannot be banned, or policies not enforced, it may be beneficial to put the burden on concertgoers themselves. To this end, artists such as Ian MacKaye of Fugazi and Minor Threat and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins have been known to address the risks of moshing during shows. Furthermore, if concert violence is recognized as a problem, resources such as Paul Wertheimer's Can Moshing Be Made Safer? might make "mosher-friendly" techniques more popular. (Wertheimer, 1995)