Entertainment Music Falls Festival crush victims launch class action

Falls Festival crush victims launch class action

The Falls Festival In Lorne
Revellers at The Falls Festival in Lorne, Victoria. Photo: Getty
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More than 60 people injured in a terrifying crowd crush at last year’s Falls Festival are taking the event organisers to court.

Nineteen people were taken to hospital with broken bones and other serious injuries and dozens more were hurt when a stampede broke out between acts in the Grand Theatre at the Falls Music and Arts Festival at Lorne on December 30.

A class action was lodged through Warrnambool law firm Maddens Lawyers in the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Maddens senior partner Brendan Prendergast said about 65 people are on the statement of claim, but since news broke of the action, more people have come forward.

“Everyone we’ve spoken to reports being absolutely terrified,” he told AAP on Thursday.

“I think many people are thinking they could’ve potentially lost their lives.”

People paid anywhere from $249 to $468 plus booking fees to go to the four-day camping festival.

Mr Prendergast says when people hand over that amount of money, they expect to be in a safe environment.

The claim alleges Ash Sounds Pty Ltd, trading as The Falls Music and Arts Festival, restricted the exit from the theatre, causing the crush.

The claim says timetabling caused a rush of people to leave, and an adequate risk assessment was not done.

At the time, organisers blamed the incident on a “confluence of events” and said an investigation would be done and released.

On Thursday, co-producer Jessica Ducrou said in a statement the festival was co-operating with a WorkSafe investigation.

“We have had regular contact with affected patrons since the incident and are providing ongoing assistance,” she said.

“However, given the matter is as of today the subject of legal proceedings, we are not in a position to comment further.”

Ms Ducrou confirmed Falls Festival will “definitely be going ahead in 2017”.

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