LIMP BIZKIT Tour Manager Blames Concert Organizers For Fan Death

June 7, 2002

A LIMP BIZKIT tour manager blamed concert organizers yesterday, June 6th, for the death of a 15-year-old fan who was crushed during a concert in Australia last year.

Chris Gratton said the concert promoters had failed to control the "absolute crowd mayhem" and rejected claims LIMP BIZKIT frontman Fred Durst aggravated and provoked the crowd by screaming obscenities at them, according to Billboard magazine.

Jessica Michalik, 15, died after suffering a heart attack when she was caught in a crowd crush during the LIMP BIZKIT performance at the Big Day Out festival on January 26th, 2001, in Sydney.

"This is one of the scariest things I have ever seen — I have been doing this for over 12 years and I have never, ever seen something so frightful," Gratton said after being shown video footage of the night.

He said Michalik's death could have been prevented if the promoters had stopped the show. "It would have been a simple matter for the promoters to have killed the band's sound and to have taken immediate control of the sound and lighting systems in the arena," he said. He said security staff "just stood back and did nothing" when a crowd of up to 50 people collapsed yards from the stage.

"They [security guards] did not appear to recognize the signs that people were distressed and needed to be removed," he said. Durst is scheduled to give evidence June 17 via a video link from Los Angeles.

The inquest is investigating events leading up to Michalik's death. At the end of the inquiry, coroner Jacqueline Milledge can recommend charges be filed, but prosecutors do not have to act on the recommendations.

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