5 Ways To Address Safety Concerns At INFINITE's North American Concerts

IN 2013, tension was tangible at the Hammerstein Ballroom as fans anxiously awaited INFINITE's appearance on stage. It was the seven-member K-pop group's first time in New York City, and the venue was tightly packed with fans excited for the show.

But the minute the music started introducing INFINITE on stage, the crowd surged forward. Soon, those standing close to the stage were overwhelmed by those behind them trying to get closer to their idols. By the end of the night, fights had broken out, audience members had fainted, and INFINITE had to halt the performance multiple times to ask fans to be considerate. Even Billboard took note of the insane situation in a review of the show.

With INFINITE's upcoming January performance in New York and other North American cities, and EXO's recently announced North American tour in February, there is concern from fans regarding concert safety.

Having momentarily experienced the crush at INFINITE's New York City show in 2013, and promptly escaping to the back of the crowd where there was breathing room, I didn't see everything that went on. I spoke to members of one Facebook group dedicated to INFINITE's New York City show about their past experiences and what they want to see at the upcoming show, and how we can make everybody's K-pop concert experience that much better. 

1. Prepare For Waiting In Line, But Not Too Early

Bring snacks and water if you're planning on waiting in line for a while, because the pit gets crowded and extremely hot.

"People were fainting from dehydration and lack of food because they didn't want to give up their spot in line," said Rosemary Gurak.

Lindsay Streisfeld also addressed what went on before the show and expressed concern. "Fans were being incredibly rude and hostile towards other fans, especially when they were lining up the morning of. There were some supposed rules about lining up and some fans disobeyed the rules and never got in trouble and other fans threw a fit and that spiraled into a whole issue.

2. Don't Bring Signs And Bulky Cameras That Will Ruin The Experience Of Others

Large signs and cameras are not only not allowed at the venue, they make other fans suffer.

"My best friend got smacked by a DSLR camera from a Korean saseang [intense fan], when DSLRs weren't even allowed at the concert," Max Phunhirun commented. "He almost passed out, but luckily we got him out. We didn't even enjoy the concert at all."

Charlotte McAnulty experienced something similar. "Please don't bring signs. I had some girl who was holding up a sign [in front of me] almost the entire concert. I was trying to get pictures, plus I'm short, so it prevented me from seeing."

3. Leave The Arguing At Home

Yes, L loves you. No, it's not the place to get into a cat fight about it.

"I have never seen such a display of human behavior at a concert in which the fans are supposed to be a community," Streisfeld told me. "I saw people being lifted out of the crowd and brought out to medical help. My friends sustained injuries...I was appalled. Even when the boys told the crowd to calm down, they disobeyed. It was purely embarrassing, I'm surprised they are even coming back. If I could give advice to fans for this concert, it would be this. Don't talk to hostile fans, don't feed the fire. Don't start an argument over things that are so amazingly irrelevant, like saving a spot (you will all get to the same place anyway) or which member is "yours." (Seriously, I saw an argument in which two girls fought over Myungsoo.)"

4. Check It At The Door

At least in New York City, INFINITE's concert will have a coat check. Playstation Theater charges a few dollars, but if you have a lot of things with you, it's not worth bringing excess bulk into the already crowded pit.

And definitely don't bring anything else to make people let you get closer to your idols.

"I heard that some fans were threatening others," Melody Liendo recalled. "So maybe a purse check or something should be done for the safety of others."

5. Don't Shove. Don't Push.

Just don't do it.

"When we were waiting for the show to start it wasn't too bad since everyone was just standing there and not doing much," said Anita Dyer. "The moment the lights dimmed everyone squished forward and moved a good foot/foot and a half up. It got really tight really quickly and the slightest movements just shifted everyone. I was tall enough that I could see over some heads that were in front of me. And I could just see a wave of people being jostle aside and, in a matter of seconds, I was then pushed over from the chain reaction. It broke my heart when in between songs one of the INFINITE members, I think Dongwoo, actually had to ask in English for people to back up and to not push because he wanted us to be safe."

Whitney Diaz and Brina Kim also experienced a similar situation. "The biggest problem was people pushing, which was really dangerous," recalled Whitney. "At some point, a row of people fell over and were being stepped on but some fans helped pick them up."

"I remember at one point I was almost on top of the girl in front of me at nearly a 45 degree towards the stage," Brina remembered. "When I noticed the nosebleed moments later, I decided it was best that, even though I paid the extra money to ensure I was close, it was in my best interest to make my way to the back of the floor. I also remember at least 2 members asking everyone to calm down and be safe during the concert."

INFINITE will start the North American leg of their tour in Vancouver on Jan. 7, then head to Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Santiago before heading to New York City for the final North American top on Jan. 19.




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