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Boston Calling 2024 issues statement on ‘dangerous’ crowds

Boston Calling 2024 crowds watch Chappell Roan on Sunday, May 26.
Boston Calling 2024 crowds watch Chappell Roan on Sunday, May 26. Vibrant coverage
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Organizers of Boston Calling 2024 released a statement following a barrage of online criticism over unsafe conditions on Day 3 of the annual music festival, vowing to continue working to “create a better environment for everyone.”

“We greatly appreciate the audience, staff and artists who make Boston Calling possible and want to acknowledge Sunday’s feedback,” organizers posted on Instagram. “Although attendance numbers were several thousand below the venue’s official capacity rating, we never want anyone to feel uncomfortable or unsafe during the show.

“The safety and well-being of our fans, artists, guests and staff is paramount,” the statement continued. “We will continue to work with government officials and our operations team to improve the experience and layout and ultimately create a better environment for everyone.”

‘Dangerous’ crowds at Boston Calling 2024

While organizers did not specify how many people attended Boston Calling 2024, several festival sources told Boston.com that at least 40,000 people attended Sunday’s sold-out set, which featured popular artists such as The Killers, Hozier, Chappell Roan and Megan Thee Stallion. That was reportedly more than double the number of people who attended the festival on Saturday, which one festival source estimated at 16,000.

Part of the reason the venue felt so oppressively crowded on Sunday was that almost all of those 40,000 people were already there at 4:05 pm to see Chappell Roan on the Green Stage. The festival has a history of featuring up-and-coming acts in an afternoon slot, which is a cool way to get fans to say they saw a future headliner “before they made it big.”

But the consequence of Sunday’s program was that for seven hours virtually no one left the area around the Green and Red stages. There was a brief flurry of concessions after Roan finished her set, but by the time Megan Thee Stallion walked onto the Green Stage at 6:25 a.m., many people were essentially stuck in their seats.

The logistics that functioned seamlessly on Friday and Saturday were suddenly overwhelmed. The staff began handing out free $5 water to the audience, but the number of overheated concertgoers needing medical attention — which, to be clear, happens at every outdoor music festival — soared.

On Sunday, Boston Calling’s Instagram was flooded with hundreds of negative comments from fans about the crowds.

‘Luckily we escaped’

A festivalgoer emailed Boston.com Tuesday morning to share his experience of nearly being crushed by a rush of people in what they called an “extremely dangerous situation.”

“The layout of the Red Stage and the main stage, in addition to a handicapped viewing platform, barriers and the bar, all created an extremely dangerous situation for those in attendance,” the reader wrote. “After Meg Thee Stallion and before Hozier, crowds of people moved from one area to another between (the) red and green stages. The situation my family found themselves in in the crowd was a very frightening experience that we fortunately escaped.”

The reader, who said they had attended multiple editions of Boston Calling and other music festivals in the past, said they would not return in the future.

“Throughout the entire 20-minute ordeal, there were people falling, being crushed/pushed, crying, having panic attacks, and fainting,” they wrote. “Throughout this ordeal, Boston Calling security pushed their way through and over the attendees and did absolutely NOTHING to assist the dangerous situation that was unfolding.”

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