A stampede of customers during ACL’s Student Day on Saturday led to the injury of college and high school students, according to UT students who attended the event.
ACL hosts a sale annually to offer students and members of the military wristbands at a discounted price.
UT electrical engineering sophomore Eduardo Zueck and public relations sophomore Diego Mejia said they arrived to wait outside Zilker Park around 9 p.m. the night before the sale, because the park has a curfew between the hours of 10 PM and 5 AM, when no one is allowed on park grounds.
Zueck said the stampede started because security opened the gates to the park early.
“People were by the fence waiting for the line to be opened [at 5 AM], and out of nowhere, they opened the line and people just started rushing in trying to scale the fence,” Zueck said. “In that process, most of the fences started falling down on top of people.”
Mejia said he sustained injuries after a fence collapsed on top of him.
“People just started moving forward, so I was getting squished against the gate, so I tried to jump over, but I just fell on the other side of the gate, and then the gate completely collapsed onto my leg,” Mejia said. “Then people collapsed on the gate, so my leg got completely squished under the gate, and I got a nasty gash. It was scary because I couldn’t move at all, and there were also other people who were under me.”
Mejia said the inadequate presence of security at the sale allowed for the stampede to occur.
Charlie Jones, partner at C3 Presents, the company responsible for Zilker Park during ACL, issued a statement attributing the incident to the nature of the crowd at the sale.
“A group of unruly fans at this year’s event compromised the safety of others, including some of our most loyal fans,“ Jones said.
After being injured, Mejia said he rode in an ambulance to the hospital with a high school student who sustained an injury to his forehead from a fallen fence. Both of their injuries were minor, he said.
“They got lucky,” Mejia said of the event organizers. “It could have gone so much worse.”