In a previous blog, we talked about a bug infestation that left partiers at the popular festival, Burning Man, literally burning from bug bites. If that wasn’t enough to make you want to steer clear of these wild youngster festivals, then this story might. Personal injury attorney, J. Price McNamara is blogging from Baton Rouge, LA to talk about how the recent EDM festival, TomorrowWorld became a riotous failure with lawsuits waiting to happen.
Trapped In a Muddy Nightmare
TomorrowWorld took place a couple weeks ago. Originating in Europe, it’s now a 3-day long music festival in the Chattahoochee Hills in Georgia. The Chattahoochee Hills are a rural farm setting that are about 45 minutes from the busy metropolis of Atlanta.
TomorrowWorld is the biggest music festival in the world with about 160,000 participants, featuring big name performers like David Guetta, Big Gigantic, and Armin Van Buuren. If you’re not familiar with these performers, all you need to know is that their songs sound a lot like “mmm-sk, mmm-sk, mmm-sk.” With the vast nature of the festival, you’d think they’d have some sort of plan B in the case of inclement weather.
The nightmare began when a torrential downpour of rain in the muggy Chattahoochee Hills turned the festival into a flooded mess. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, since most of the festival goers were too zonked out of their minds to let the weather rain on their parade, until it interfered with transportation.
Eventually, the rain got so bad that Ubers and shuttles couldn’t make it to the festival grounds to pick Saturday night’s day-pass attendants. The miles of muddy roads leading to the festival grounds made it impossible to get in out and of parking fields and to drop-off locations.
With miles of dirt roads that were impossible to drive on, day-pass attendants were totally abandoned and unable to make it back to their houses and hotels. Instead, they remained trapped in their muddy and drenched sun dresses with nowhere to go.
The music-goers that actually made it to their Lyft and Ubers after hiking for miles in the cold and dark had to pay huge surge fees. A lot of people just slept on curbs or in the grass. One volunteer described the scene as “the Hunger Games,” where people were anarchically banging on the doors of full shuttles that were trying to leave the festival.
In the volunteer’s interview with Vice, he claimed that one man just laid in the middle of the street to try and stop a jam-packed bus from leaving the grounds without him. A lot of the attendees were Atlanta locals who decided not to camp, so they could just go back to their warm comfortable bed at the end of the day.
A lot of these locals took it personally, since their support was part of the reason that the festival made its home base near Atlanta, in the first place. Instead of getting to enjoy the festival, these locals were left on the sides of muddy roads. After the chaos on Saturday, the festival released a statement saying that day-pass attendants wouldn’t be allowed in on the second day.
A Facebook page led by a 20-year veteran human rights lawyer is trying to pursue a lawsuit against TomorrowWorld for abandoning the festival-goers, after canceling the promised shuttles.
One attendee reported that they had waited in 2 lines for a shuttle, only to be told “keep walking, there are shuttles a few miles away.” The were told this even after the event organizers knew that the shuttles had been canceled.
Some people were not even allowed to exit the grounds, because security wouldn’t allow them past the checkpoints. To get around security, they were forced to sneak through the woods.
Not only were their ticket contracts broken by not allowing day pass holders to return for music on Sunday, but their lives were endangered the night before. Disabled attendants were even more neglected, stranded in their wheelchairs and unable to cross the muddy pathways.
The non-campers were stranded without shelter, food, or water. The majority of the safety and neglect could’ve been avoided if the festival had planned better, instead of making people fend for themselves.
Is There a Case?
Luckily, there were no fatalities at the festival. Just a lot of tired and angry college kids, who might’ve gotten the flu from staying out in the rain too long. Unfortunately, for those trying to sue for personal injury, they won’t have much luck.
At the time of purchasing the tickets, the attendants agreed to assume all of the risk/danger inherent in attending the event, including personal injury, damage or liability. However, there might be a case that could be built around the false imprisonment of security not allowing day-pass attendants to leave the grounds.
Following graduation from Loyola Law School in New Orleans in 1990, Price McNamara served as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M Shaw, Chief Judge, United States District Court Western District of Louisiana.
Mr. McNamara founded J. Price McNamara ERISA Insurance Claim Attorney, and began putting his past experience to work for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies in personal injury and long term disability and other insurance disputes in both federal and state courts