HEAT BLAMED FOR BIG DAY OUT TRAGEDY

Organisers say that Limp Bizkit were not responsible for the chaos, as 30 fans are injured in Sydney...

BIG DAY OUT organisers have stated that “excessive heat and crowd excitement” contributed to the incident that occurred today (January 26) during LIMP BIZKIT’s set at the BIG DAY OUT at SYDNEY STADIUM, AUSTRALIA, which led to the band’s set being halted while around 30 people were pulled from the moshpit and several sustaining injuries, including one girl suffering a heart attack.

The injured – including the heart-attack victim, who was resuscitated using heart-massage equipment backstage at the festival – were taken to Concorde Hospital in Sydney.

Shortly after the incident, organisers of the festival issued a statement describing it as “a difficult situation with a volatile audience”, many of whom were suffering heat exhaustion in temperatures estimated to be around 120?F (49?C), and have commended the emergency and security services, and the band, for taking action to avoid the situation getting any worse.

“The performance was stopped several times in an effort to evaluate the health and safety of our audience. Fire marshals responded quickly and high-velocity hoses sprayed water on the crowd, thereby reducing the temperature and volatility of the situation.

“Several times during their performance Limp Bizkit urged the audience to step back and assist fellow concert goers in need of assistance, and promoters compliment the band’s diligence in this.

“The organisers of the event would like to acknowledge the full co-operation of Limp Bizkit through this difficult situation and their commitment to the safety of their audience.”

A UK spokesperson for Limp Bizkit responded this afternoon, telling NME.COM it was no surprise that the band have been praised for their behaviour. “Throughout their career, their first and foremost concern has been for their fans.”

As reported earlier today on NME.COM, the police requested that Limp Bizkit continue their set for fear that a riot might ensue among the 20,000-strong crowd if the show was cut short.

After Durst had appealed to the crowd to step back to allow the fallen fans to be moved out, the band stopped playing and moved to the side of the stage. They went on 15 minutes later, after a member of staff had again urged the audience to step back.

It is known that one of the organisers of the festival, which has been running for nine years and calls at six cities in Australia and New Zealand, this being the middle weekend of three, had been present at Roskilde last summer, when a crush at the front of the stage in wet weather conditions led to the death of nine Pearl Jam fans. As a result, they had specifically upped security at this year’s event.

“Leading up to the Sydney event, pit security for the Big Day Out was virtually doubled, with extra measures in place to ensure crowd safety. This incident is particularly distressing in light of the Big Day Out’s impeccable commitment to safety of patrons.” Additional barriers and security measures will be deployed at the remaining shows, the next of which takes place at Melbourne on Sunday (January 28).

Festival organisers expressed “profound concern for the wellbeing of the injured” and have vowed that they will ensure that everything is done to avoid a repeat of the situation.

NME.COM?s reporter down under is keeping us posted with all the latest news throughout the Big Day Out festivals. Check back regularly for updates.