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New research shows concerning cause of music festival cancellations: 'It's happening at an increasing rate'

"One of the responsibilities of the organizer is to make hydration accessible to people."

"One of the responsibilities of the organizer is to make hydration accessible to people."

Photo Credit: iStock

New analysis suggests that changes in climate are increasingly leading to disruptions or cancellations at music festivals. 

What's happening?

As detailed by Inside Climate News, crowd safety researcher Milad Haghani discovered that extreme weather canceled or disrupted at least 22 music festivals in Australia between 2022 and 2023, a significant uptick from the 10 impacted from 2013 to 2019. 

"I think it's very clear that it's happening at an increasing rate, and the severity of the events, the impact of the events are more tangible now," said Haghani, who began his analysis after a series of weather-caused disruptions in the United States. 

Why is this important?

While not all severe weather at concerts is the result of a warming planet, as Inside Climate News pointed out, the scientific community agrees that rising global temperatures have caused more frequent and powerful extreme weather events.

At music festivals or concerts, which often take place outdoors, these extremes can prove deadly. In November, dangerously high temperatures in Brazil led to the postponement of a Taylor Swift concert after the death of a fan during the event. The Associated Press later confirmed that heat exhaustion was the cause. 

"Extreme heat events are more extreme than ever," NOAA scientist Stephanie Herring told NPR after the American Meteorological Society released its annual report in 2023. "Research is showing they're likely to become the new normal in the not-so-distant future."

Inside Climate News also pointed to a hailstorm in Colorado that injured nearly 100 people and a wave of heat-related illnesses at an Ed Sheeran concert in Pittsburgh as other notable instances of weather-linked safety hazards. 

What can be done about this? 

Haghani explained to Inside Climate News that further preparation and clear communication from event staff could help attendees stay safe in extreme weather, including heat waves. 

"One of the responsibilities of the organizer is to make hydration accessible to people," he said. "I think that is one of the key factors and easy fixes."

Other experts pointed to the need for plenty of shade, misting stations, and accessible areas to shelter from the elements. Alcohol and caffeine also impact our bodies' abilities to regulate itself in high temperatures, so avoiding these drinks in severe conditions can help keep you safe. 

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