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Fred Durst Comments on Big Day Out D-Barrier Removal

Source: MusicFeeds February 1 2012

By John Ritchie.

Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst has been asked what he thinks about the removal of the D-Barrier system at the Big Day Out festivals in Adelaide and Perth this weekend. Durst was conducting an interview with spa [link expired] to promote the upcoming Soundwave Festival, however the interviewer put him the spot, asking him what he thought of the decision to remove D-barriers at the smaller BDO dates. Durst replied:

Oh my gosh I can’t believe that. Are you serious

The D-Barrier system controls the number of people filling the mosh-pit area in front of the main stage. The System was implemented following the death of 16-year-old Jessica Michalik [SMH link expired] at The Sydney Big Day Out in 2001. Fred Durst was performing with Limp Bizkit at the event when Jessica Michalik was crushed in the mosh pit; she died as a result of asphyxiation five days later.

In a statement sent to spa, Big Day Out Production Designer Matt Doherty explained why they have removed the D Barrier for the smaller shows, and re-affirmed their confidence in the new system:

The smaller capacity shows in Adelaide and Perth have exactly the same medical and surveillance infrastructure as the East Coast shows. The barrier system for these shows has been re-designed to suit the single stage setup. The most important consideration here is the mobility of the audience. Audience health and safety is at all times the number one priority of the Big Day Out.

In the interview with spa [link expired] Fred Durst continues:

I would think that, you know, after all that you know… I would hope they would learn… we’ve all learned… that whole day of arguing with them before we went on.

Durst is referring to the relationship breakdown that occurred between Limp Bizkit and The Big Day Out organisers before the fateful day in Sydney in 2001. Durst alleged [NME link expired] that he had warned the Big Day Out promoters about the possible dangers, but they didn’t listen:

We begged, we screamed, we sent letters, we tried to take precautions, because we are Limp Bizkit, we know we cause this big emotional blister of a crowd…the crush was already happening before we even walked onstage and the worst thing that could happen, that I told them would happen, did, and a girl died.

The next day Limp Bizkit left the country and only informed the BDO organisers through a note left in the band’s hotel room.

After an investigation into Jessica’s death, the state coroner issued a statement saying responsibility was on the Big Day Out’s promoters Creative Entertainment Australia, saying there was overwhelming evidence that crowd density was dangerous when Limp Bizkit went on stage. Limp Bizkit was also criticised in the report, the coroner said that Durst could have taken the situation more seriously, with his comments on stage during the attempt to rescue Michalik “alarming and inflammatory”.

Watch: Limp Bizkit – Big Day Out Sydney 2001

Recently Jessica Michalik’s father has also critisied the Big Day Out organisers for removing the D Barriers from the Auckland, Perth and Adelaide festivals, speaking with the SMH he said:

In my book it [the D barrier] was her main legacy. Her whole purpose of living was to make the changes for ever…I am dumbfounded that these people, after only ten years, forget why the secondary barrier was there in the first place.

Limp Bizkit will visit Australia for the first time in 11 years playing the Soundwave 2012 Festival, which kicks off in Brisbane on February 25th. The Big Day Out 2012 tour will head to Adelaide on Friday before the festival winds up in Perth on Sunday.

Source: MusicFeeds February 1 2012


And this how we reported the findings from the coronial enquiry in Connections Magazine December 2001:

‘Singer’ abuses crew as girl dies

Confirming what most people who work in the music business suspected, a Sydney court was told last month that a singer defied a request to stop the Sydney Big Day Out show where a teenager died.

US trash rock outfit Limp Bizkit were doing their set when Jessica Michalik, 15, was dragged under the crowd and later died.

A coroner was shown a clear photograph of band mouthpiece Fred Durst making an apparently rude gesture with his finger to a security guard who was motioning to him to stop the show. The court also heard that Durst had been asked to stop playing at an earlier New Zealand show after the crowd spun out of control.

A witness said the Big Day Out production manager, Matt Doherty, had asked Bizkit’s production manager, Chris Gratton, to stop the music. Mr Gratton allegedly told Mr  Doherty he would have to tell Durst himself.

The court heard that according to Mr Doherty’s statement to police, Durst then grabbed Mr Doherty and dragged him on to the stage.

“[Durst] said to the crowd: ‘Here are the authorities’, and shoved a microphone into [Mr Doherty’s] face,” the witness was reported as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

“But he said when Mr Doherty took the microphone and asked the crowd to calm down, Durst poured water on him”, the report concluded.

At press-time the court was attempting to get Durst to give evidence by video from the USA.

Source Connections Magazine No. 94 p. 11 December 2001

Further reading:
Findings and Recommendations by the Coronial Inquest into the Death of Jessica Michalik, Ian Weir, Venue & Event Management Services (pp15 PDF), 2002.
A big thumbs up for troubled Big Day Out, Malcolm Brown, SMH November 11 2002
Jessica Michalik – Wikipedia
Durst still angry at Big Day Out over teen’s death, Marcus Teague, on SMH website Feb 28 2012
Falls Festival crush: Music festivals better run than ever, but crowds unpredictable, The Age online, Jan 1 2017
Show Safety Barriers … confidence in a brand, Matt Doherty, CX Magazine 15 November 2006




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