Get Up or Die: Surviving a Trampling at a Rock Concert

The next thing I knew I was knocked down to the dirt and panic filled me…

This is what I felt in 1992 at the Lollapalooza music festival in Waterloo Village in Byram, N.J., as the headlining band The Red Hot Chili Peppers began their set.

I had been at the traveling music festival all day drinking crap beer and enjoying the music, which featured popular and upcoming alternative, metal, punk, rap and hip-hop bands.

A friend and I had skipped out of work for the day and we were having a great time until the Chili Peppers finally came on stage sporting helmets that spouted flames out of the tops of them and I heard the beginning drum beats to their rousing anthem “Give It Away.”

From those first beats, the whole crowd surged  toward the stage.

This took me by surprise as I was enthralled watching the band members with their flaming helmets, and I was shoved forward and knocked off balance.

Ten to 12 seconds into the song, I was driven to the ground on the field, my glasses flew off and people were tripping over me as they rushed the stage.

I was about to be trampled and I knew if I didn’t get my ass up quick, I could get killed.

“Shit! Where the fuck are my glasses?!” I thought, and quickly swept the ground with my hands.

Miraculously, I put my hands on them and I tried to get to my feet.

People kept pushing and stepping on me.

This is how people die at these things: They get knocked down and trampled to death while no one in the crowd stops to help.

I couldn’t let this happen.

I had been married for less than a year and had loads of stuff yet to do in my life.

I don’t think Anthony Kiedis had gotten through singing the first verse of the song and I was finally able to get a hold of myself and pushed myself up.

Thank the Lord I was able to stand up and finally get my balance.

My glasses were a bit mangled but I put them back on and I could see the band again.


Of course now with the forward surge of the crowd, the mosh pit had expanded and now I was actually in it.

Time to retreat, take cover and save myself from getting killed.

I survived Lollapalooza 1992.

Now, every time I hear “Give It Away” I think of this time my life flashed before my eyes and I knew that I needed to get up or die.

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