If you’ve ever been to a music festival, you know the energy — that days-long, haven’t showered, phone is dead, “I will never forget this as long as I live” energy.
Festivals from Coachella to Electric Daisy Carnival bring fans together from all around the world. When you mix that many people, add a little drug use, some hard partying, and the occasionally violent confrontation, things can get pretty hectic — even dangerous.
Whether it’s someone too high to comprehend what they’re doing at the moment or a life-changing scenario, we’re taking a look at the weirdest and tragic things to have ever happened at a music festival — they just keep getting worse as you click through!
Dog Left in the Car
As long as the windows are down, those furry friends will be just fine. Unfortunately, 60-year-old Edwin Harrington Jr. forgot to lower them further while he attended the Xfinity Center for the 2014 Warped Tour.
It’s well known that the Warped Tour never allows dogs into the event; ska outfit Sublime temporarily left the first Warped Tour because they brought a dog with them. Edwin was arrested and held on a $1,000 bail. His dog suffered from heat stroke.
Based in the Netherlands, Mysteryland is one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals in the world, and top tier DJs such as Armin van Buuren, Swedish House Mafia, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike have appeared to drop the hits.
In 2015, one female attendee took things way too far and almost wound up the hospital. She managed to scale and dive from the 30-foot railing above the stage. The attendee, who admitted to being very drunk, suffered minor injuries — pretty luck, given the fall could have easily killed her.
Times have been tough for the GEICO Caveman since the cancellation of his 2007 sitcom Cavemen and his subsequent removal from our TV screens. Many people still have strong feeling for the character, including Christopher Ray Woods.
During the 2014 Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the Huntsville native was arrested while rocking a caveman outfit. His choice of attire wasn’t the reason for his arrest; he was caught trying to sneak in marijuana and a handful of MDMA pills into the festival. After covering the $6,000 bail, he was released from jail.
In 1992, alternative rock band L7 broke onto the charts with their hit single “Pretend We’re Dead” from their third studio album “Bricks Are Heavy.” The outfit promoted the release with various festival appearances, including a memorable one at the 1992 Reading Festival.
During their set, some fans threw mud at lead singer Donita Sparks due to technical difficulties. The singer fought back by taking out her tampon and hurling it at the crowd. This wasn’t the first shocking moment involving Sparks; later that year, she performed on the show The Word with her pants down.
Loving a Tree
Ultra Music Festival is one of the premier electronic dance music festivals in North America, and it became one of the biggest showcases for top tier and rising DJs in the world.
At the 2012 installment, a young lady, who was either severely high or drunk, was in the mood for some action, so she decided to put some slick moves on a tree. As one would expect, the video went viral. No one knows what happened to the lady since the video was uploaded, but there’s a good chance she decided to get to know trees a lot better before taking things to the next level.
Marriage proposals are somewhat common at music festivals, but for John Ferreira, he wanted his proposal to then-girlfriend Catherine Mauro to be something special. With the help of some folks at Reddit, he walked around the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in 2014 handing out fliers for this special moment.
While a local musician played “Dead Sea” by The Lumineers, a plethora of people began handing Catherine flowers before John popped the question. She said yes, and the two are expected to be married in the spring of 2017.
Woodstock ’99 was synonymous with total disaster. The three-day festival had problems around every single turn, including a lack of toilets for guests, very little drinking water available, and the blistering heat.
One of the most horrific moments came when Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire,” which led to people breaking into ATMs and trailers and setting fire to vendor booths. For the 40th anniversary of Woodstock in 2009, the promoters toned things down severely by bringing back a huge list of acts from the 1969 installment.
Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse
n 2011, the Indiana State Fair was set for rocking performances from Sugarland and Sara Bareilles, but a severe thunderstorm changed things in an instant. The storm’s power caused the roof to collapse and land on the crowd. Seven people were killed, and 58 others were injured.
The sad thing is that this could’ve been prevented; several minutes before the collapse, state police captain Brad Weaver wanted executive director Cindy Hoye to call off the concert because of the storm, but Hoye insisted on letting it continue as planned.
55,000 people packed Chicago’s Union Park for the 2014 installment of the Pitchfork Music Festival, which featured performances from Neutral Milk Hotel, Dum Dum Girls, and Sun Kil Moon. With so many people from around the world, many of them tried to stand out from the crowd.
That year, one individual was a little too tired to get up and groove, so he decided to bust out his dance moves on the ground. The crowd around him didn’t seem to mind at all.
Taxes at Coachella
Some people go to Coachella to discover their new favorite act. Others go to the popular music festival to hang out with friends and make new ones. At the 2016 installment, several people went there to file taxes.
The first day of the festival landed on tax day, and people thought it would be a great idea to send their taxes to the small post office at the festival grounds. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an actual post office, and Megan Hampton, who was in charge of taking care of the area, refused to take any taxes from attendees.
While touring for the album “Reality,” the late David Bowie made an appearance at the 2004 installment of Norwegian Wood Festival in Oslo, Norway. While performing, someone in the crowd thought it would be cool to throw a lollipop at the singer, which hit him in the eye.
For the artist, who only had one good eye, the pain was excruciating, but he still managed to continue with the show. This was one of his last live performances before his death in 2016 from liver cancer.
The following incident involves a pig and a singer of one of the most influential bands of all time.
Even with acts such as Death Cab for Cutie and My Morning Jacket on the bill, the 2008 installment of Coachella didn’t sell out. Headliner Roger Waters performed the iconic Pink Floyd album “Dark Side of the Moon” in its entirety, and the musician brought his massive inflatable pig, which has been a part of Pink Floyd’s live act since 1977.
Unfortunately, the pig broke loose at the end of his set and sailed off into the night. Coachella organizers offered $10,000 and festival tickets for life for the return of the pig.
Manson being Manson
Platinum selling rocker Marilyn Manson is well known for pushing things to the limit with his image and live shows.
At the 2001 installment of Ozzfest, the rocker, who was promoting his album “Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death),” got into some severe trouble after he wrapped his legs around a security guard’s head and gyrated against him at the DTE Energy Theater stop. Manson could’ve faced two years in jail for his actions, but the charges were dropped months later.
Pukkelpop Music Festival Stage Collapse
The 2010 installment of the Pukkelpop Music Festival in Belgium was overshadowed by the death of The Call front man Michael Been and the suicide of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool front man Charles Haddon. The following year, festival organizers hoped for brighter experiences, but they were faced with another tragedy.
During a performance from Smith Westerns, the stage collapsed due to the massive thunderstorm in the area. The band left the area untouched, but the same couldn’t be said for the audience. Overall, five people were killed by the collapse, and over 100 people were injured.
Rage Against the Censorship
Rage Against the Machine are one of the most outspoken bands of all time, and they’ve done their part to help shine a light on various problems in the world. While plugging their self-titled debut album, the band made a controversial statement at the Philadelphia stop of Lollapalooza 1993 when they showed up on stage naked with black tape on their mouths and PMRC on their chests.
The band was protesting the Parents Music Resource Centre, which is the organization behind the Parental Advisory stickers on CDs. The group stood on stage for 15 minutes as the crowd booed.
Nine Friends We’ll Never Know
The Roskilde Festival is one of the longest running music festivals in Europe, and it never had any tragic incidents until Pearl Jam took the stage at their 2000 installment. During the concert, a mob of people rushed the Orange Stage, which led to the deaths of nine people.
Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder referenced the incident in the song “Love Boat Captain” with the lyrics “Lost nine friends we’ll never know… two years ago today.” The 2010 edition of the festival memorialized the nine folks lost in the event.
Ottawa Bluesfest Collapse
The 2011 edition of Ottawa Bluesfest featured Ra Ra Riot, Theory of a Deadman, and My Morning Jacket on its lineup, but it forgot to mention a possible trip to the hospital for a musician.
During Cheap Trick’s performance, a massive thunderstorm came and caused everyone to run for cover. The stage avoided collapsing on the crowd, and instead, it fell on Cheap Trick’s truck. Unfortunately, lead singer Robin Zander gained a laceration to his abdomen from the fall. In 2013, the band filed a $1 million lawsuit against the festival.
Love Parade Nightmare
Since 1989, the Love Parade brought some of the best electronic acts to Germany. In 2010, the festival had one of its biggest attendance numbers with 1,400,000 people having the time of their lives.
Tragedy struck when police told a large flock of people to turn away due to overcrowding, which led to a massive stampede. In the end, 21 people were found dead, and 500 others were injured. Due to the situation, the folks behind the Love Parade decided to put an end to the festival in order to avoid another tragic incident happening again.
Surgery for Guns ‘N Roses
When iconic rock outfit Guns ‘N Roses revealed they were playing the 2016 installment of Coachella, many of their older fans wanted to relive their youth by attending. Divorced mother Sarah Mirmelli dropped $8,000 on Botox and lip injections to help her regain her youthful appearance from years ago.
She also went vegan and dropped alcohol from her daily routine in order to get fit for the festival. This wasn’t Sarah’s first time at Coachella, though; she attended five other times in the past.
Radiohead Stage Collapse
In 2012, Radiohead were touring in support of their studio album “The King of Limbs,” and they were looking to wrap things up with a performance at the Downsview Park in Toronto. Unfortunately, the stage’s roof collapsed, which killed their drum technician Scott Johnson and injured three members of the band’s technical crew.
With their light show and music equipment also destroyed in the accident, the band canceled the Toronto show and their European tour. In 2013, global ticket company LiveNation were charged with 13 counts of negligence for the incident, which equals to around $4 million in penalties.