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Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
Nov 15

DJ announcements the 'most significant factor' in nightclub deaths

A jury has ruled that the announcements made by a DJ were the 'most significant factor' in the deaths of 2 students in a crush at a Northampton nightclub.

The tragedy took place at the Lava & Ignite Nightclub in Northampton in 2011 during the 'Wickedest Wickedest R'n'B Event' with 1600 people inside.

A crush developed as the crowd were trying to leave in the early hours of the morning. They were heading outside to get buses away from the venue.

The problems

The jury heard evidence that the DJ made 14 announcements in a 30 minute period urging the crowd to leave the nightclub. He announced that 'all hotels are booked up, you'll get left behind' to urge the crowd to leave or risk missing their bus. 

The foreman of the jury stated that 'We believe the safe exit from the club was not adequately considered by the promoters of the club'. She noted that the crush on the stairs was due largely to the announcements from the DJ between 3:10am and 3:50am and that the lack of management at the cloakroom and the crowd's attitude & behaviour were also factors.

The bottom line

Everyone working in nightclubs and at events have a role to play when it comes to keeping people safe. As seen in this case, some people working at events can have a huge impact on how safe people are. 

I'm sure the DJ didn't anticipate what would happen on foot of those announcements. That's exactly the point, though.

Good Event Safety professionals / crowd safety specialists would have anticipated the effect announcements like that would have on a crowd and would not have allowed them be made. 

DJs, in particular, need to take their responsibility with regard to crowd safety seriously. Generally, they have the microphone. They have the tool by which they can communicate with everyone, instantly, and they need to act responsibly in using the microphone. 

Again, I don't think the DJ was looking to cause injury or death but I do think the industry and professionals in it could be doing a lot more to help avoid situations like this.

What do you think?

How could we help avoid situations like this in the future?

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