Durst Testifies In Big Day Out Inquest
Limp Bizkit warned concert organizers of security problems during its tour of Australia and New Zealand before a teenage fan died in a crowd crush, lead singer Fred Durst said today (June 17) in SydneLimp Bizkit warned concert organizers of security problems during its tour of Australia and New Zealand before a teenage fan died in a crowd crush, lead singer Fred Durst said today (June 17) in Sydney. Durst testified by live video link from Los Angeles at the inquest into the death of 15-year-old Jessica Michalik, who suffered a heart attack during a Limp Bizkit performance in Sydney on Jan. 26, 2001. Michalik died five days later.
He told the court he had raised concerns with tour promoter Vivian Lee before the Sydney concert, which was part of a touring multi-band festival Big Day Out. Durst said the band approached organizers after a crowd collapse in Auckland, New Zealand. "We definitely said that if they do not fix security we would not play," he said.
Durst said he told Lee, "I just hope the security's better at the next show because that [Auckland] was a little out of hand." The 30-year-old singer said he was still coming to terms with Michalik's death. "It was so overwhelming that a young girl came to see her favorite band and left in a coma and died," he said. "I'm very emotional right now talking about it, it's taken me a long time to talk about this."
The inquest is investigating events leading up to Michalik's death. At the end of the inquiry, coroner Jacqueline Milledge can recommend charges be filed, but prosecutors don't have to act on the recommendations.
Earlier this month, Bizkit tour management representative Chris Gratton told the inquest that promoters had failed to control the "absolute crowd mayhem." He rejected claims Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst aggravated and provoked the crowd by screaming obscenities at them. "This is one of the scariest things I have ever seen -- I have been doing this for over 12 years and I have never, ever seen something so frightful," Gratton said, after being shown video footage of the night.
He said Michalik's death could have been prevented if the promoters had stopped the show. "It would have been a simple matter for the promoters to have killed the band's sound and to have taken immediate control of the sound and lighting systems in the arena," he said. He said security staff "just stood back and did nothing" when a crowd of up to 50 people collapsed yards from the stage.
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