Dangerous Tempe Concert Leads To Review Of Permitting Process

On Saturday, September 26, 16 Tempe concert-goers were transported to area hospitals and about 300 attendees were treated or observed by rescue crews at the Summers End Music Festival at Tempe Beach Park event. High temperatures and the “surging movements of a non-violent crowd” led some attendees to require rescue and medical treatment.

Alcohol was a factor for some of those who needed treatment.

Now, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell says that the city is taking the incident seriously. In response, City Manager Andrew Ching has directed a multifaceted response including a a detailed tabletop exercise to recreate the events of Saturday by Tempe Police and Tempe Fire Medical Rescue. From that, the City will develop improvements to its crowd control and events management expectations.

“The most important duty of the City of Tempe is ensuring the health and safety of our community,” said Mitchell. “Tempe is a first-class destination for events and our high standards for public safety must always extend to protecting those who come out to enjoy them.”

Lucky Man Concerts, the event promoter that put on the Sept. 24-27 Summers End event, is requesting to produce another event at Tempe Beach Park. However, according to the press release issued by the City, “a special event permit for the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 Monster Mash concert event will not be issued by the City until and “unless Lucky Man can demonstrate that it will meet revised and additional public safety requirements to be determined by the City.”

All other special events already approved to be held through 2015 will be fully reviewed to ensure compliance with existing and new safety protocols before being allowed to proceed.

Ching also has asked the City’s Internal Audit Office to conduct a thorough examination of the City’s process for permitting special events to determine best practices and areas for improvement. The timetable for the audit is expected to be several weeks.

“What occurred on Saturday at the festival was unacceptable on many levels and cannot be repeated. It fell far below our standards as a city,” Ching said. “We can and will learn from this to make our events planning process even stronger and safer in the future.”