It was 42 years ago tonight (December 3rd, 1979) that 11 fans died in a stampede while entering the Who‘s concert at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum. The tragedy — which all but eradicated festival concert seating for nearly two decades — happened when thousands of fans who were lined up outside the venue to make a mad dash for the stage upon the arena opening, rushed through only a few doors opened by the venue, flooding the lobby area, leaving nearly a dozen fans dead in their wake.
The fans killed in the stampede were Teva Ladd (27), Walter Adams, Jr. (22), James Warmoth (21), Phillip Snyder (20), David Heck (19), Stephan Preston (19), Peter Bowes (18), Connie Burns (18), Bryan Wagner (17), Karen Morrison (15), and Jacqueline Eckerle (15). A further 23 concert-goers were injured while attempting to enter the arena.
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, without yet knowing all the facts, a still-in-shock Pete Townshend spoke to Cincinnati's WEBN and was quick to lay blame on the band itself: “We know it was our fault and it's our responsibility. And I'm not going to get into any deep conversations with any police chiefs, fire marshals, federal people, or whatever. I mean. . . or even any mums and dads. Y'know, I'm a father. I've got two young kids.”