Olympic venue LiveCity Yaletown shut down after crowd rushes stage for Alexisonfire

LiveCity Yaletown was shut down early tonight (February 16) after hundreds of fans pushed towards the front and broke down a barrier separating the audience from Canadian hardcore band Alexisonfire.

Less than 30 seconds into the group’s first song, frontman George Pettit ran to the front of the stage and quickly brought things to a halt.

You knew it was coming.

Front and centre, some 20 feet from the front row, I was taken off my feet as soon as the first chord was struck. As the young crowd swayed hard from left to right, pressing forward, people fell to the ground in every direction, many on top of one another.

The barrier broke and staff and police immediately swarmed to what was left of the clearing between the audience and the stage. The band pleaded for people to move back.

It wasn’t violent. I didn’t witness a single fight or any act of real aggression. And when called upon, the audience did comply and moved away from the stage.

Song broke out and “O Canada” was repeated several times. One VPD officer stood atop a section of broken fence and pretended to act as the crowd’s conductor.

It was obvious that several–if not many–people were hurt. At least one person was carried away on a stretcher. Since I’ve arrived home, local media outlets are reporting that as many as 20 people were injured with nine being taken to hospital.

Alexisonfire apologized and said that they would return to Vancouver as soon as they could.


More video from LiveCity:
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Matisyahu plays through Olympic rain at LiveCity Yaletown
Olympic venue LiveCity Yaletown shut down after crowd rushes stage for Alexisonfire
Deadmau5 holds back nothing for Vancouver Olympics show at LiveCity Yaletown
Sam Roberts Band rocks with Vancouver at LiveCity Yaletown
Constantines play for the fans at Vancouver's LiveCity Yaletown
Damian Marley gets Vancouver moving at LiveCity Yaletown
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Blue Rodeo closes Olympic party at LiveCity Yaletown


You can follow Travis Lupick on Twitter at twitter.com/tlupick.

Comments (40) Add New Comment
dthorne
I was lucky enough to be on the front left of the stage with my girlfriend, rather than the center. A lot of unfortunate people tonight. Way too many folks in there, way too many inebriated people, and that barricade couldn't have been built that well. Either way, pretty awful that a good deal of people had to get hurt.
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C.Wilson
The fans were all wearing black bandanas soaked in apple cider vinegar on their faces and the VISU had to pull out the automatic rifles and threaten to shoot them is they did not disperse.
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Drunk Buster
5 Days in and I can see the downtown crowds are starting to get drunk and ugly. Not as happy-feely as last weekend. They are packing way too many people into these venues.
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Travis Lupick
@dthorne, I don't want to hypothesize on exactly what went wrong. It's a little early for that. But I don't think the problem was too many people. LiveCity Yaletown is a big venue and when Alexisonfire took the stage, there was still a lot of room at the very back.

And as for inebriated people, it's a dry venue that people had to stand in line for an hour for just to get in to (plenty of time to sober up).
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Rating: -4
Padsock
This is a bloody outrage. I am a professional producer with 20 years experience in Rock Concert productions and I have been fully trained in crowd control dynamics by EPP in the UK. What the hell is going on with the organisation. This was not a professional Mojo crowd control barrier, whoever advanced the production for this show should be hung out to dry. This is shocking and you guys are so lucky that someone was not killed. The H&S standards here are woefull. Waken up Vancouver you are embarrassing yourself.
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dthorne
Fair enough Travis. That was my first concert there, so I can't completely be sure of anything.

I realized it was a dry venue. Just seemed like an awful lot of people were under the influence tonight.

I guess overall I'm just really disappointed in everything that went down tonight. I'm really glad on how most people handled it, really glad on how George, Dallas (carrying a girl out), and the rest of the band handled it. Still disappointing to hear people boo, yell bullshit at a time like that.

Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.
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Rating: +1
Iwastheretoo
I think everyone genuinely felt bad about the situation. I was surprised that the crowd dispersed so peacefully, things could have been way worse and there was no rioting or chaos on the street after, people just left.

I don't mean to point fingers but I can't understand how this happened. In my 25 years of going to rock shows, very large ones with crowds much larger than this show, I have never witnessed barricades coming down, bending or breaking like this.... they are there to suppress crowd surges.

I am so glad that no one was killed - could have been WAY worse.

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Rating: +1
knowitall
LiveCity Yaletown can accommodate up to 8500 people, including staff and security. This is strictly enforced with the numbers being counted as people go through the security lines.
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Rating: -4
dthorne
I guess I assumed there were too many people in the crowd. Oops.
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Rating: -2
janneg
Kudos to volunteers and on-site personnel for controlling what could have turned into a bad situation. we were on-site and while I don't think the venue was over crowded, I do agree that a lot of alcohol was consumed in the long line up to get in & very little police presence was felt in the line. It might have helped to turn away some of these very drunk young men before they got in and caused this incident. An unfortunate situation to blemish our games.
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Rating: +3
tulip
point is,as a fan, Alexisonfire is a hardcore band and should have never been playing at a free community event.
there was not enough strong security in front of the barriers like there are at other hardcore shows, as well as the barriers themselves were weak in comparison
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Rating: +4
PropsAOF
I think that they need to make the livecity venue larger i was in line when it got shut down and there must have been another 20 thousand people waiting to get in, it was getting very violent outside cause the fact that the security officers told us they would let us all in and it gave people false hopes which only made everyone more angry, Vancouver we are making fools out of are selves, the people who were in charge of setting up the show really messed up. Alexisonfire is a well known band throw in no need to pay to see them and you are going to get what happened tonight. this is only going to happen again when Deadmau5 comes this coming Friday...

Props to Alexisonfire for being able to keep the crowd peaceful. They did the right thing tonight by shutting down the show.
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Rating: 0
Marcus
From what I seen last night at the Matisyahu show the barriers they used have NO business at ANY concert unless its at some county fair in the middle of no where. the band and Crew acted quick and properly, I was kind of upset until I realized people were hurt quite bad. These kids just need to grow up.
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Rating: +5
Marcus
just to clarify when I said the kids needed to grow up, i didn't mean the ones pushing and shoving, i mean it comes wit the territory of that style of music, i meant the ones yelling obscenities and booing, classless jerks. Padsock is right, all they used is portable galvanized fencing, or something along the lines of it... nothing strong AT all
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Rating: +1
Cursed
It's as if this Olympics is cursed. Maybe karma is kicking our ass and we deserve it for allowing the misery to pile up: the DTES, Pickton, the cuts to education, health, arts and social services. Maybe we need to think about our priorities, putting people first. They're already calling it the Worst Olympics Ever.
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Rating: +1
melissa
I was there. The crowd was pretty calm for a punk/hardcore show. The rush to the stage was pretty typical of an alexis show. Everyone wants to be closer to see Dallas and the boys. The way the venue is, theres a bit of a downhill slope toards the barrier. I wouldnt be surprised if this contributed to the incident. Its a sad thing that the band only played 15sec and all those people got trampled. If there is anyone to blame its the venue organizers for poor crowd control. Like i said, a calm crowd, mostly young 20's, plenty of girls and a handful of mildly drunk attendees.
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Rating: +3
Laurel
As someone who was in the crowd (and someone who carried a girl with a fractured? leg out of the pit) all I can say is that this should not have happened.

It doesn't matter that Alexisonfire is a hardcore band or that it was a free community event or that there were people drinking or that maybe the barriers/security might not have been up code. I have been to so many shows with intoxicated crowds and "hardcore" bands where shit has not gotten out of hand like this. If I was to blame anyone, it would be the crowd but not because they were drinking; something has clearly changed in the whole mob mentality of being at a show since the last one I've been to.

What happened to the unspoken courtesy of concerts? If someone falls in the pit, you stop and help them back up; you don't plow through and knock over everyone in front of you ten seconds after the band takes the stage. You're supposed to have each other's back. It's about having fun and having a good time, something that can't be done if you're on the ground under a pile of people with your legs being fractured.

It wasn't fair to that girl I carried out of there tonight (while most people stood around watching instead of running to get help or clearing the way, I might add) and it wasn't fair to the rest of us who just wanted to go out and have a good time. No matter how many elbows I get to the back of the head or bruises I wake up with in the morning, it's always worth it because I'm seeing a band I love. This was just fucking dumb, ten seconds of intro music isn't fun and it isn't what we were there to see. Let's get our shit together guys, we're all there for the same reason.
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Rating: +3
Denon
I JUST got home from the hospital, guys (I ended up with a broken foot and some crutches >.
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Charlotte taylor
Seroiusly, the people at the gig really needed to give the guys a break. I understand that people will have queued up to see them, but what about all the people that got hurt? are you going to risk people dying just to see a show? AOF did the right thing by stopping the show you can tell that its the last thing they wanted to do- playing at the olympics had to be a massive thing for them; hence why George is so apologetic.
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politics101
Just to be certain - Live City Yaletown is a City of Vancouver site not VANOC so let's blame the Mayor and his people and be thankful it doesn't appear that anyone was seriously injured.
Meanwhile BC Place was rocking with the Bare Naked Ladies
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Rating: +1

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