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How Wal Mart (and the retail business, and government) can truly learn

Over at www.opednews.com, I posted my article about what Woody Guthrie would think about the death of the Wal Mart worker on Black Friday. I suggested that people should investigate what Wal Mart could have done, and what Wal Mart, and the government, should do now.

An Op Ed News reader posted a great comment, with a link to a similar situation in the concert industry. After 11 people died at a rock and roll concert in 1979, the industry and the government made reforms and new protocols to make sure that something similar never happened again. (And, those reforms worked.)

(excerpt from) The Enquirer.Com
Friday, December 3, 1999

Concert industry learned from Who tragedy
Safety taken more seriously after 11 died in 1979

By Larry Nager / The Cincinnati Enquirer

When fans file into the Firstar Center on Friday evening, it will be 20 years to the day 11 people were killed outside that building in the crush before a concert by the Who.

It remains the deadliest concert disaster in American history. But the enormous changes seen by the local and national concert industry since Dec. 3, 1979 should ensure that Friday’s Phish show will go on without incident.

Far greater emphasis on pre-show planning and more communication among venues, promoters and artists have helped make concerts safer. Some of those developments have been cultural, as attitudes toward arena concerts and the people attending them have changed.

Other changes have been legislative, as laws passed in Cincinnati after those deaths remain in effect, inclusing a ban on general-admission seating for events drawing more than 3,000 people.

“Festival seating,” in which the first people through the door get closest to the stage, is thought to have contributed to the dangerous conditions at the Who concert. When doors failed to open on time, the impatient crowd repeatedly surged forward…

“There’s no doubt that the building manager today are much more profesional than they were 20 years ago,” says Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of PollStar, a concert business trade magazine. “Building managers today realize that crowd control starts outside the building, not just inside. Today, there’s crowd control for when they put tickets on sale.”

“There’s just a lot more planning,” explains Firstar Center manager Mike Smith. “You set and publish and publicize door times, show times. You have standard procedures for welcoming the crowd, people being positioned at doors and at gates, specifically at the arena…

One Response

  1. Hi, I’m sliphoch (anagram of Phil Ochs) who left the link. I have to say that it was an article on OpedNews by Emily Levy, a few days ago, that had a link to a 1979 Time article re the Who.
    I was 14 when The Who released their first record ‘I Can’t Explain’ and I became a fan. I was interested and did a search, coming up with the Enquirer article. When I saw your article it just seemed natural to offer the link.

    Not had time to look at anything on this site but will come back later today (it’s 1.50am here)

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