Multiple medical emergencies and hospitalizations turned the Avicii Homecoming concert at Barton Hall on Saturday into a potential health risk for some students, according to organizers and attendees.
The Cornell University Police Department received 12 calls regarding alcohol-related incidents related to the concert, according to Kathy Zoner, chief of the CUPD. There were six hospitalizations, Zoner said.
“A lot of [the hospitalizations] were [for] people on their way to the concert that never even made it indoors,” said Dave Rodriguez ’13, executive director of Cornell Concert Commission.
In addition to the alcohol-related incidents, CUPD said a forcible touching occurred at the ticket line for the concert. The victim said she was grabbed under her skirt twice while she was waiting in line to enter Barton, according to CUPD.
Although CCC attempted to eliminate the presence and effects of alcohol and illegal substances –– enlisting the help of CUEMS, ambulance reserves and CUPD –– “what people do before they arrive isn’t up to us, unfortunately,” Rodriguez said.
Multiple drunken escapades also occurred during the concert. Rodriguez said that someone defecated in the bleachers.
“We try to keep those bleachers open so people have the chance to sit, but we never imagined that people would start relieving themselves in the bleachers,” Rodriguez said. “It completely baffles me that somebody would think that was an okay thing to do … [it was] definitely a first.”
Factors such as the widespread penchant for debauchery during Homecoming Weekend contributed to the “unfortunate situations” that occurred both before and during the concert, Rodriguez said.
“There is a stigma that goes with electronic music and the type of people that go to the concerts, but a big factor of last night was that it’s Homecoming Weekend and Homecoming Weekend is a big party weekend for most people,” Rodriguez said. “Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t able to take care of themselves in these sorts of situations.”
Jared Hoffman ’15 said that it was incontestable that students were consuming alcohol and illegal substances at the concert.
“There was definitely a lot of rolling [on ecstasy] going on; I saw it numerous times firsthand,” he said. “The comment from most people was that it was as hardcore as any concert that you could hope for that wasn’t part of a festival. It was definitely the craziest I’ve seen at Cornell.”
Donovan Whitter ’15 agreed.
“The crowd was electric throughout the show and the atmosphere was full of excitement,” he said. “Pretty much everyone was extremely drunk or on drugs during the show, but in all honestly, that just made things better.”
Mujahid Powell ’15 compared the concert to a rave due to “half-naked” students and “crazy” lights.
“It was better and much crazier than any on-campus event I’ve been to before,” he said. “[The concert] was really well done.”
However, for some attendees, including Jeffers Nguyen ’15, the concert did not live up to their expectations.
“Avicii’s performance was not [as] impressive as I hoped it would have been,” Nguyen said. “It might have been because I didn’t know more than two of his songs.”
Jayant Mukhopadhaya ’15 said he had a “creepy” experience during the concert.
“There was this really funny moment when this guy tried to jump on my shoulders — not just once, but twice,” Mukhopadhaya, who is also a designer at The Sun, said. “He half got up on my shoulders and then asked me to put him down. So I put him down and 15 minutes later he jumped on me again.”
Mayda Dorak ’13 said the crowd was rowdy.
“I tried to go up on the shoulders of my friend, and then people actually got very angry very quickly,” she said. “They started yelling, ‘Get off!’ and someone was poking me with something sharp in the back.”
Even entering Barton Hall was “a pain,” according to Mukhopadhaya, as “everyone was everywhere on everyone.”
But Whitter said that, ultimately, the concert made “Cornell a better place.”
“Avicii was great; he put on an excellent show that far exceeded my expectations for a Cornell concert,” he said. “Compared to other on-campus events … this was by far the most mind-blowing night Cornell has ever sponsored.”