By Marybeth Bock

When you plan to attend a concert or music festival, you’re usually just thinking about things like transportation, what you’re going to wear, and how much fun it will be enjoying some live music with friends.

Sadly, after another tragic event recently happened at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, it’s also important to spend a little more time thinking about personal safety before you go to a concert.

It could take weeks for officials to determine exactly how eight people died and hundreds were injured while rapper Travis Scott was on stage, but it’s evident that the crowd of about 50,000 people surged toward the stage, crushing some people and knocking over others who were trampled. Police are also investigating what role drugs and alcohol may have played in the injuries and deaths.

In crowds, when individuals get packed in together so tightly, it can cause people’s airways to close up, a medical condition known as compressive asphyxia- often called “crowd crush.”  This has caused deaths at concerts and sporting events all around the world for decades, whenpeople simply can’t physically control their movements.

So, what can you do to decrease the risks of getting hurt when attending a live music event? Here are things to think about before you head out.

Do some Google research about the artists and the venue before you buy tickets to a large show. If there is a history of incidents in the past, see if steps were taken to avoid future, similar issues.

Consider only buying tickets for specific seats and avoiding general admission or “floor” tickets, where there’s a much greater chance of an open space becoming dangerously crowded.

Look at a map of the venue beforehand to know where all exits are. Agree upon a secondary meeting place outside of the venue in case of an emergency or if you get separated from friends or family.

Be sure your phone is fully charged when you go to the event and try to carry an extra battery and power cord in your clothing or purse. It’s also smart to have a 20-dollar bill on hand for emergency use only.

Keep an emergency contact information card with your phone and ID. Make sure you have contact information for parents and relatives as well, in case you lose your phone, and give your parents the cell numbers of a friend or two who will be with you at the event.

Always stick together with your group. No one should get food or use the bathroom alone.

Don’t use any substances that might make it difficult to be fully aware of your surroundings or to make a good decision. Most importantly, don’t take anything that a stranger offers you.

If you start to feel like a crowd might get out of control, leave the area immediately and alert security.  Trust your inner voice and don’t endanger yourself for a “better” view of a stage.


Marybeth Bock, MPH, has logged time as an Army wife, childbirth educator, college instructor and freelance writer. She lives in Phoenix and you can find her writing on multiple parenting sites.