Not-So-Quiet Riots: The Ten Worst Riots In Music Event History

By | June 18, 2011

Dallas Observer

Dallas Mavericks fans were notably well-behaved during yeterday’s NBA Championship victory parade through downtown. Despite the fact that 200,000 or so people packed themselves in like sardines along the sidewalks of the route — and in the sweltering heat, no less — there were only five arrests.

By contrast, Vancouver Canucks fans set downtown afire after their team lost the Stanley Cup. Good sportsmanship upon a beloved team’s loss is something Vancouver fans could learn from Mavs fans — until this year, we’d lost NBA title after NBA title for 30-plus years, and no one’s gotten hurt because of it.

But what, in general, causes an otherwise well-behaved crowd to suddenly turn violent? Well, music, for one. Some of the most famous and destructive riots in history have been the result of concerts gone wrong.

Along those lines, we’ve rounded up some of the most infamous concert riots in history after the jump. Turns out that Vancouver hockey fans aren’t the only ones who could take a page from Dallas’ stellar sportsmanship book. Take note, Limp Bizkit fans (all three of you).

10. Drake, New York City 2010. Free concerts are by nature unpredictable. And when Drake and ’90s “Mmmbop”-ers Hanson scheduled one at the South Street Seaport, some 25,000 fans packed nearby streets. The NYPD shut down the show when fans began fist-fighting and throwing chairs from balconies — and during soundcheck, even. The NYPD was able to bring the crowd under control relatively quickly, though, which proves that we’ve learned a thing or two since Altamont (more on that later).

9. Metallica, Bogota, 2010. This show was sold out. Hundreds of ticketless fans attempted to barge into the venue, throwing rocks and breaking windows in the process. Riot police arrested 160 unruly fans; eight people, including four officers, were injured.

8. Guns N’ Roses and Metallica, Montreal, 1992. Openers Metallica had to cut their set short after James Hetfield suffered injuries in a pyrotechnic accident. Meanwhile, Guns’ set found Axl up to his usual shenanigans; complaining of a sore throat, Rose left the stage in the middle of their set. Fans poured into the street and began overturning cars and setting fires.

7. Guns N’ Roses, St. Louis 1991. Funny how the same names keep cropping up on this list. GNR has caused several riots in the wake of Axl’s hasty departures from stage; this was the worst. Axl got pissed about fan heckling, threw down his mic and walked off; angry fans began ripping up seats and, eventually, the band’s gear. It took riot police 45 minutes to get the crowd under control; 90 injuries and 16 arrests were reported, although the worst casualty of Axl’s behavior may have been his career.

6. Woodstock ’99. A combination of high-priced food and water, too few toilets and temperatures that soared above 100 degrees led to a crowd that was angry before the concert really got moving at full steam. Rioting began during Limp Bizkit’s set and escalated when the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage. Four rapes were reported, six people were injured and seven were arrested — although, amidst the chaos, many rioters went unidentified.  Fun fact: Muse played the “emerging artists” stage at Woodstock ’99, a decade prior to their rise as indie darlings.

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