In the wake of the horrific stampede that injured 80 and hospitalised 19 at last month’s Falls Festival in Lorne, stories from those who bore the worst of it are continuing to emerge.
While she’s quick to assert that others suffered worse than her, it would be fair to say that Maddy, a 22-year-old crush victim who spoke to Hack today about being three months out of work and awaiting compensation for her ordeal, had a pretty bloody rough go of it.
After she describes letting go of her friend’s hand and getting dragged to the bottom of the crowd, Maddy goes into vivid detail of an event that knocked her out and sent to Geelong Hospital with a fractured pelvic bone and “two beautiful black eyes”:
“People just started piling on top of me. I was still moving until it wasn’t possible for me to move myself. I don’t know how many people were on top of me but I was at the very bottom.“I was screaming until I couldn’t anymore because the air was crushed out of my lungs.“I remember telling myself, ‘go up for air, go up for air’, but I couldn’t move at all. It wasn’t painful being crushed, it was more painful not being able to breathe.“I couldn’t move any limbs and my head was to the side facing down. There were legs next to me and I remember biting someone to try and get them to pull me up. I just remember going, ‘this is it, this is death. This is you dying.’ And then I blacked out.”
Talking to P.TV, Maddy described waking up after passing out, still believing that she was dead:
“Someone got me out, I don’t know who. A girl got me conscious again, made sure I wasn’t delusional – which I totally was. I was in shock and the world was spinning.“I thought I was dead. I thought the girl in front of me wasn’t real.”
The stampede, which occurred when the crowd moved from the DMA’s set to London Grammar on Friday December 30th, has left others with injuries ranging from broken bones to possible head and spinal trauma.
Multiple inquiries are already underway into the event, including WorkSafe Victoria’s investigation into whether the festival broke safety regulations. But while Falls has issued an apology, and is in the process of contacting injured patrons, people are naturally frustrated that the festival is yet to offer compensation.
Maddy, who shows much more sympathy to organisers than you could expect from someone who got very severely trampled, is out of a job for three months as she recovers on crutches. She’s also quite naturally frustrated at having to rely on her mum, who has taken time off work to look after Maddy.
But while a class action lawsuit against the festival would be the natural option for a crush victims, she’s unsure if she’ll join as she doesn’t want to lay the blame on any one person – from Hack again:
“I still don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t want to blame one thing, one person. Because then you could be blaming the people that pushed me, or the DMAs for being so popular.“But [the festival] does have duty of care. At the end of the day they do have a responsibility.”
A number of other survivors have commented on the story already, including another person who passed out during the stampede and appears to be experiencing some degree of post-traumatic stress:
The fallout from the event will likely continue for months, with that VIC Health investigation slated to be finished anytime between six months and two years. So how it impacts future music festivals, if at all, is still to be seen.
Because people are by and large huge dinguses, people on Facebook have already made short work of either accusing her of using an Instagram filter (that would be a weird fucking IG filter) or telling her to harden up (which seems patently insane considering she nearly got crushed to death, is covered head-to-toe in gravel rash and can’t use one of her legs), but she’s taking it in good humour, telling us:
“It’s the internet, it’s gonna happen: someone’s gonna be a dick and then someone’s not gonna be a dick and then someone else is gonna be a dick again. I’m not worried about it.”
The extremely hectic black eyes, which doctors say are either a result of the pressure applied to her body or having the air forced out of her lungs, is not only not an Instagram filter, it’s also not going away very fast, with this photo from today showing they are still going strong days later:
What a bloody trooper.