15 Festivals That Ended in Disaster

We all know that festivals are all about having a great time, making memories, and enjoying music and art with friends. But, you know, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Some festivals have turned into total disasters, leaving people upset, stuck, or even hurt. Recently, Burning Man made headlines when attendees were stuck after excessive mud, trapped people for days. 

In this article, we’ll look into some of the biggest festivals worldwide that went terribly wrong. We will figure out why these disasters happened. These stories are like warnings of what can happen when things don’t go as they should. 

1. Fyre Festival (2017)

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened - Production Still Image
Image Credit: Netflix.

Great Exuma, The Bahamas

5k+ attendees 


The ill-fated Fyre Festival in 2017 promised luxury, but it delivered chaos. Attendees were met with poor accommodations, a lack of basic amenities, and inadequate food. The event quickly turned into a scam, resulting in multiple lawsuits. The festival’s founder, Billy McFarland, was sentenced to six years in prison for fraud.

2. Astroworld (2021) 

Houston,TX, USA, 120621 A memorial outside of where the music festival Astroworld was held where 10 people died.
Image Credit: Bryan Regan/Shutterstock.

NRG Park, Houston, Texas, United States

50k attendees


Astroworld, a festival founded by Travis Scott, took a tragic turn in 2021 when a crowd crush occurred on the first night. The incident claimed the lives of 10 people, with 25 others hospitalized due to the crowd rush. An investigation revealed numerous issues with the festival’s planning and security, resulting in ongoing lawsuits.

3. Woodstock (1999) 

Trainwreck: Woodstock '99.
Courtesy of Netflix

Griffiss Air Force Base, Rome, New York, United States

400k+ attendees


Woodstock ’99, which was supposed to commemorate the historic festival’s 30th anniversary, was a flop. Attendees rioted in extreme heat and poor conditions, resulting in 3 fatalities, 253 hospitalizations, at least 4-5k minor injuries, 40k+ arrests, and extensive property damage. The event ended in a stark departure from the peace and love associated with the original Woodstock.

4. The Who Concert Disaster (1979) 

Pittsburgh, PA - March 16, 2016 : Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend opened "The Who Hits 50" tour in Pittsburgh with 'Who Are You' Wednesday, March 16 at Consol Energy Center.
Image Credit: Jack Fordyce/Shutterstock.

Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

18k attendees


The tragic 1979 concert by The Who at Riverfront Coliseum became infamous due to a crowd rush. 11 people lost their lives, and 26 sustained non-fatal injuries as eager fans surged toward the venue’s doors. The incident led to heightened safety measures at concert venues worldwide.

5. Roskilde Festival Disaster (2000)

ROSKILDE, DENMARK - JULY 2 Audience with flags and banners, raising their hands in front of the stage at Roskilde Festival 2015. Roskilde Festival is one of the largest music festivals in Europe.
Image Credit: Kjeld Friis/Shutterstock.

Roskilde Denmark

50k attendees


The Roskilde Festival in 2000 saw a crowd rush that resulted in 9 fatalities and 26 injuries. A tragic accident during Pearl Jam’s performance led to a reevaluation of safety protocols at music festivals, emphasizing crowd control and security.

6. Love Paradise Disaster (2010)

Pride community at a parade with hands raised and the LGBT flag - symbol of love and tolerance.
Image Credit: Melinda Nagy/Shutterstock.

Duisburg, Germany

1.4m attendees


The 2010 Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany, ended in tragedy when a crowd rush occurred at a tunnel entrance. The incident claimed the lives of 21 people, with 650 others injured. It led to questions about crowd management and safety at large-scale events and marked the end of the Love Parade festival.

7. Altamont Speedway Free Music Festival (1969) 

Pretty amazing free red-haired hippie girl dancing outdoors, feathers and braids in her hair, white dress, vest with fringe, accessories, sunglasses, tattoo flash, indie, Bohemian, bo-ho style.
Image Credit: Navistock/Shutterstock.

Altamont Speedway, Tracy, California, United States

300K attendees


The Altamont Speedway Free Music Festival in 1969, intended to be a peaceful gathering, took a dark turn. Violence erupted, resulting in 1 fatality, multiple injuries, and violence. It became a symbol of the counterculture’s decline and marked the end of the 1960s hippie era.

8. Glastonbury Festival (1990) 

Glastonbury/UNITED KINGDOM-06/05/2019 photo from Glastonbury Festival in Glastonbury.
Image Credit: marietta peros/Shutterstock.

Pilton, Somerset, United Kingdom

70K attendees


The Glastonbury Festival in 1990 experienced violence and looting, with 235 arrests and £50,000 in property damage. The festival faced challenges in crowd control and security, prompting organizers to reassess safety measures and improve the event’s overall experience.

9. Bloc Festival (2012) 

Docks in reflective mood. The Royal Victoria docks, London, showing a calm setting to an iconic area of historical interest in London UK..
Image Credit: Pics4view/Shutterstock.

Royal Victoria Docks, London, United Kingdom

15K attendees 


The Bloc Festival in 2012 faced issues of overcrowding and long queues, leading to safety concerns. As a result, the event was canceled, disappointing 15,000 attendees. The incident highlighted the importance of proper event planning and management.

10. Indiana State Fair (2011) 

Indianapolis, IN - August 5: Indiana state fair ground are prepared for opening on August 6.
Image Credit: Alexey Stiop/Shutterstock.

Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

N/A attendees 


The 2011 Indiana State Fair turned tragic when a severe thunderstorm caused the stage to collapse, resulting in 7 fatalities and 58 injuries. Multiple lawsuits followed, with one settlement reaching $50 million in 2014. It underscored the importance of weather preparedness at outdoor events.

11. Sled Island (2013) 

Peace Bridge, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Sept 21 2012. Picture of the Peace Bridge in a sunny autumn day.
Image Credit: Timothy Yue/Shutterstock.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

40K attendees 


Sled Island in 2013 faced cancellation due to flooding, leaving 40,000 attendees disappointed. The festival had to issue $200,000 in refunds. The incident highlighted the vulnerability of outdoor festivals to natural disasters.

12. Z0o8 (2008) 

Cute toddler boy looking at an alpaca at a farm zoo on autumn day. Children feeding a llama on an animal farm. Kids at a petting zoo at fall. Active leisure children outdoor.
Image Credit: MNStudio/Shutterstock.

Port Lympne Animal Park, Kent, United Kingdom

30K+ attendees 


Zoo8 in 2008 left a legacy of debt, with the company going into liquidation with £125,000 owed. The festival’s financial struggles served as an important reminder about the financial risks associated with organizing large events.


13. Electric Daisy Carnival (2010) 

March 26, 2019, Brazil. Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) logo on the mobile device.
Image Credit: rafapress/Shutterstock.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, LA, California, United States

185K attendees 


The 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles saw 1 fatality and 114 injuries. Dozens of arrests were made, prompting a reevaluation of safety protocols at electronic dance music festivals.

14.  TomorrowWorld (2015) 

Bouckaert Farms, Chattahoochee Hills, Fairburn, Georgia, US - Oct 2,2016: John Legend at Many Rivers to Cross Music Fest.
Image Credit: Atl360Pic/Shutterstock.

Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, United States

150K attendees 


TomorrowWorld faced backlash from logistical issues, ultimately leading to the organizer’s bankruptcy. Attendees were left disappointed, underscoring the importance of effective event planning and execution.

15. Glastonbury (2005) 

Pyramid Explosion Glastonbury Festival Pyramid Stage during a concert. Exploding with ticker tape.
Image Credit: benny hawes/Shutterstock.

Pilton, Somerset, United Kingdom

150K attendees 

Glastonbury in 2005 encountered flooding that affected festival grounds. Tents and stages were struck by lightning. Despite the challenges, the festival persisted, highlighting the resilience of both organizers and attendees in adverse conditions.

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