News September 16, 2020

Falls Festival ordered to pay nearly $7m to Lorne crush victims

Falls Festival ordered to pay nearly $7m to Lorne crush victims

The Victorian Supreme Court has awarded damages of almost $7 million to 77 Lorne patrons who were injured in a crush at the festival in December 2016.

Damages claims were made against the festival owners Ash Sounds Pty Ltd who in December 2019 admitted breach of duty and took responsibility for the victims’ injury, loss and damage.

A third of these who suffered serious injuries, will get “hundreds of thousands of dollars”,  according to Kathryn Emeny of Maddens Lawyers’ who launched class action.

“The compensation payments will enable group members to look to, and plan for, the future,” she added.

“In respect of some of the larger claims, we anticipate the compensation payment will be life changing.

“These were young people in their late teens or early twenties… this horrific event really derailed their lives. 

“Each group member is continuing to deal with that.”

Just after 9:39 pm on December 30, much of the crowd who’d caught the DMAs in the Grand Theatre attempted to exit the tent to see London Grammar on the main stage.

According to eyewitness reports, the positioning of the exit caused a bottleneck, and gravel caused people to fall.

People were covered in blood and feared for their lives.

Michela Burke, who was the lead plaintiff, suffered nerve damage in her left arm.

Yesterday she expressed “relief” the process was over and earlier said: “I don’t blame Falls, I don’t think they’re bad people or anything like that. 

“But the layout and exits probably could have had more attention paid to at the start of the festival.”

Falls Festival issued a statement: “We hope that the settlement will bring some relief and closure for all of the participants.

“We also want to assure the participants and all those who attend our events, that health and safety is our number one priority. 

“We care deeply about the welfare of our patrons, and are continually improving and adapting our safety protocols on an ongoing basis.”

Falls Festival is taking a hiatus this summer due to COVID-19, and has promised to return in 2021.

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