Falls Festival to pay 2016 stampede victims $7 million

Falls Festival will pay more than 70 victims of the infamous 2016 stampede event $7 million in compensation after a settlement approval from the Victorian Supreme Court.

The settlement is in response to a class action involving 77 people who were injured or traumatised when hoardes of people rushed from the Grand Theatre on 30 December 2016 to get to a nearby stage.

According to Triple J, about a third of those involved in the action, who suffered the most serious injuries, will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Maddens Lawyers Principal Kathryn Emeny said that the class action had been hard-fought since its commencement in early 2017.

“The lead plaintiff, Michela Burke and each of the participating group members have demonstrated great tenacity and persistence to achieve this outcome,” she said.

“The compensation payments will enable group members to look to, and plan for, the future. In respect of some of the larger claims, we anticipate the compensation payment will be life-changing.

“The settlement comes at a particularly important time, as some of the group members are still studying or have lost their employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Burke, who suffered a significant brachial plexus injury in the stampede said she was relieved by the settlement approval.

“I am relieved that the matter is close to finalisation and we can finally begin to put the crowd crush behind us,” Burke said.

A spokesperson from Falls Festival also told Triple J that they hope the settlement ill bring some relief and closure.

“We also want to assure the participants and all those who attend our events, that health and safety is our number one priority,” the spokesperson said.

“We care deeply about the welfare of our patrons, and are continually improving and adapting our safety protocols on an ongoing basis.”

The settlement comes not long after the festival’s organisers announced the 2020 event will not go ahead due to COVID-19.

Featured image credit: Charlie Hardy via Falls Festival Facebook page