Monday, May 26, 2014

40 Year Itch: Victim of Contrived Hysteria

On May 26, 1974 750 people were hurt at a David Cassidy concert at the White City Stadium. A few days later 14 year old Bernadette Whelan died of heart failure --the first fatality at a British pop concert. Cassidy had already announced his retirement that week.

"I feel burnt up inside," he told the Mail. "I'm 24, a big star ... in a position that millions dream of, but the truth is I just can't enjoy it."

  There were 35,000 fans at the White City concert. When Cassidy made his appearance there was a surge. Some were trampled . Others were crushed.The director of the British Safety Council called it a "suicide concert". Six fans were taken to the hospital.

    In an interview with the Sunday Times, Cassidy put his hands on his heart. `Oh man', he says. `My first reaction was that I was totally brought down. I feel responsible and yet [pause] I don't feel responsible'."

    At the inquest, the coroner called Bernadette a "victim of contrived hysteria" and suggested that "trendy, high platform shoes" were a contributing factor in the number of girls who fell over in the throng.

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