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Westside Digest

Santa Monica : Concert Safety Defended

November 07, 1991

Santa Monica's director of cultural and recreation services said she does not believe that any major changes are needed in public safety measures for concerts at the Civic Auditorium, despite problems at a concert Monday night by English pop singer Morrissey.

About 25 concert-goers were pulled from the thick crowd near the stage and treated by paramedics for heat exhaustion and hyperventilation.

"I think that that could happen in any type of event at an auditorium," said Barbara Moran, who is responsible for arranging events at the venue. "We've done everything we could do. There is no reason for us to come on record with a major change."

Concert promoters agreed that heat exhaustion is a common phenomenon at rock concerts. They noted that during Elvis Presley's heyday, fans often fainted by the dozens at his concerts.

About 4,200 people, a capacity crowd, attended the Morrissey concert. In addition to those treated by paramedics, four people were taken to local hospitals and treated for similar ailments. Three others were treated for hip, foot and leg injuries after being crushed by the crowd.

Morrissey was blamed for causing a rush to the stage by fans at a show at UCLA last Friday. The rush caused the injury of about 50 fans and cut the concert short.

After that incident, Santa Monica officials asked concert organizers to provide extra security. There were 70 security guards on hand for the event, assisted by five police officers. Before the concert even started, security guards were seen urging the anxious crowd to move away from the stage.

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