Lamb Of God's Randy Blythe shares advice on concert safety in wake of Astroworld tragedy
Shortly before taking the stage with Lamb Of God for the group's performance at Welcome to Rockville 2021 last night (November 14), vocalist Randy Blythe took to Instagram to share his thoughts on concert crowd safety in light of the tragic events at the Astroworld music festival in Texas earlier this month, when eight were killed and hundreds injured amid a crowd surge.
Blythe obviously has intimate knowledge of concert tragedies, as he was charged with manslaughter in 2012 following the death of a fan during Lamb Of God of show in the Czech Republic. Blythe was accused of shoving a fan off the stage, leading to the fan's death, and to a month of imprisonment for Blythe. He was ultimately exonerated.
Blythe had this to say:
Tonight my band Lamb Of God will play in front of thousands of people at the Welcome to Rockville festival in Florida. In light of the deaths at the Astroworld Fest in Houston, I'm posting some practical info. I will not retroactively armchair quarterback the whole Astroworld thing- suffice it to say, A LOT of shit went wrong in many ways. However, I BELIEVE THE BUCK ULTIMATELY STOPS WITH THE PERSON HOLDING THE MIC- anyone who knows my story knows that I have very sad, personal experience with not stopping an out of control show- it's something I will carry with me to my grave. Being a spokesperson for safer shows is both my responsibility as a good man & the fulfillment of a face-to-face promise I made to the family of a dead fan. SO TO THAT END:
#1) From personal experience, I can say that from the performer's perspective onstage at a huge festival, it can be VERY DIFFICULT to tell if something has gone wrong in the audience- the noise of the music, the roar of the crowd, the lights in your face, the thousands of people moving all at once- it makes it very hard to ascertain if there is a problem or if people are just having a good time.
If someone is hurt, screaming "STOP THE SHOW!" at the band onstage doesn't really work, because unless the entire audience is chanting that, it's just gonna blend into all the noise.
Waving your hands frantically in the air doesn't really help either— it just looks like more movement in a sea of movement.
What DOES help the audience let a performer know that something has gone wrong in the crowd?
A SIGNAL. Here are 2 signals I've personally seen from the stage that have let me know that someone was injured in the crowd. We then COMPLETELY STOPPED the show until that person could be removed:
A) arms held in an "x" above your head (picture 1). This is a fairly universal signal that means STOP.
B) the "time-out" signal (picture 2- fingertips of one hand speared into the palm of the other)
When I've seen several people doing these signals in a crowd together, it looks DIFFERENT than everyone else, & I've known something was wrong.
#2) if someone falls, pick them up. That is how WE do it in OUR COMMUNITY.