Festival-goer feared for life during dramatic stampede at Falls Festival in Lorne

Maddy shared the horrific picture following a stampede at Falls Festival.
Maddy shared the horrific picture following a stampede at Falls Festival.

A young woman has shared horrific pictures of her eyes filled with blood after a dangerous stampede at Falls Festival in Victoria before New Year's Eve.

The 22-year-old known only as Maddy told Triple J's Hack how she felt like she was dying during the dramatic moments when she was flipped on her back and dragged along the ground.

"People just started piling on top of me. I was still moving until it wasn't possible for me to move myself. I don't know how many people were on top of me but I was at the very bottom," she said.

"I was screaming until I couldn't anymore because the air was crushed out of my lungs."

She said she bit someone near her to grab their attention so she could be pulled up before blacking out.

"I just remember going, 'this is it, this is death. This is you dying.' And then I blacked out."

Maddy now faces three months of work while her black eyes - which are filled with blood - and a bone in her pelvis heals. The young woman said she feels "hopeless" and is yet to receive any offer of compensation from the organisers.

Her story has been shared hundreds of times online with others weighing in about their experience.


Adam Schmidt said he is still in Geelong Hospital after the event and has only received one email from the organisers so far.

"I can't believe the festival organisers have not made any sort of effort to see how we are going," he said.

Adelaide woman Brooke King said she also felt like she was dying after being nearly suffocated in the crush.

"I lost consciousness. I woke up in the arms of a security guard surrounded by some beautiful friends who did not leave my side. I couldn't walk without the help of friends. I couldn't even lift up my arms to give myself water. I was triaged and once given the all-clear, I sent myself straight to bed," she wrote.

A picture posted to the official Instagram page of Falls Festival showing the Lorne event where nearly 20 were injured in a stampede. Photo / Falls Festival/Instagram
A picture posted to the official Instagram page of Falls Festival showing the Lorne event where nearly 20 were injured in a stampede. Photo / Falls Festival/Instagram

The festival atmosphere turned dangerous on December 30th when 19 people were injured in the crush that occurred while live music was playing at the Grand Theatre.

Festival organisers said they are "completely devastated" by the event and are "beyond shattered" that music lovers were hurt.

Festival co-producer Jessica Ducrou said "Patron safety is of paramount importance to us and having to address such a serious situation is very distressing for all."

She also defended the event and said there were 15 security guards present and medical staff and volunteers were close by.

Despite assurances, some have blamed the rise of "dirty crowds" for an increasingly unsafe feeling at music festivals.

Jasmine McSweeny said she left Groovein' the Moo early because "everyone is on pills, and no one cares or helps anyone. The amount of people that ask if you have drugs is ridiculous."

"People just need to remember to look after each other at festivals, if too many things like this keep happening there may not be any more festivals," she wrote.

Worksafe Victoria is investigating events that led to the stampede that involved up to 80 people and organisers may face a class action over the issue.

Those injured are urged to contact the organisers on patroninfo@fallsfestival.com or the Falls Facebook page.

- news.com.au

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