Steve Aoki promoter on Epic barricade collapse: No one asked for a refund
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Another weekend, another crazy show at Epic. Seven days after a Yo Gotti show ended in tragedy, the downtown Minneapolis club hosted party-hard DJ Steve Aoki. As we now know, the swell of people at the front of the stage was so powerful at the start of his set that it knocked over the front barricade and sent lots of people piling on top of each other.
One person watching with concern was the night's promoter, Sound in Motion's Jack Trash. "I've been throwing parties for 20 years, I worked at First Ave for five years, and I've never seen a surge like the one I saw," he says of Saturday. "It was just insane. Everyone wants to be at the front when he starts. There were a lot of people who had a good time, but it was just crazy for a few minutes."
Trash says that he spent the hours of his Sunday night scouring social media for complaints about the event. "We were offering complimentary tickets for people who had a bad experience at the show," he says. And a bit of a search of our own generally yielded comments like this one as the harshest.
@steveaoki epic concert, back is seriously injured from the baracade breaking. but ill say its the best injury ive gotten from a concert :)
-- SophiaTW (@scophis20) November 10, 2013
He mentions a girl who said she dislocated her knee, and City Pages photographer Anna Gulbrandsen sustained some bruises after being pinned under the fallen barricade, but didn't see much aside from some people shaken up. "If you had a bad experience, we want to take care of you. If they say it sucked, I'll give them a refund. We haven't had a single request for a refund."
Steve Aoki is about to launch this cake into the throngs at Epic.
Trash emphasizes that the intense nature of Steve Aoki's performances -- stage-diving, shooting clouds of CO2, and tossing full-sized cakes into the crowd -- makes an audience want to get close to the front. After the barricade fell, and the performance stopped for ten minutes, he says Aoki's stage team "tamed the performance down" and removed elements from the rest of the night.
A planned dive from the balcony into a raft was scrapped, as a result. Once the barricade was fixed and put back, more security were set in place at the front, but the crowd still raged on. When the cakes flew a few minutes later, the pushing and shoving continued, but he says there were no more major issues from then on.
"It's like when you go to a Gwar show," Trash says. "You know you're gonna get covered in blood. If you don't want to get covered in blood, you stay as far away as you possibly can."
Sound in Motion have had sold-out shows at Epic before -- which puts the crowd at about 2,400 -- but never experienced an issue like this one. "Looking back, with someone like him, I'm gonna undersell it," he says. "The next time, it doesn't matter where it is."
In addition to parties in the Twin Cities, Sound in Motion puts on the three-day camping and music experience Summer Set Festival over the border at the Somerset Amphitheater each August. As part of that he says his first concern is everyone's safety, regardless of what restrictions, pat-downs, and searches of vehicles it requires. There was a conversation about employing extra security for the event following the shooting at the club the weekend before, but they weren't as worried about violence "because it was a totally different crowd."
"Everyone's putting the blame on security, but it's not their fault," Trash says emphatically at the end of our chat. "There were a number of factors that went into play, and if it was any one thing, I'd tell you. Security wasn't there to let this happen. They weren't going 'Sweet, let's let this barricade go.'"
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