AJ Maddah Says Crowd Safety More Important Than Bands “Feeling Cool”

Touring mogul AJ Maddah says that artists need to understand that the safety of fans who attend their performances lies in their hands. Serving as the keynote speaker during the recent Vivid Ideas Feedback conference in Sydney, Maddah said “feeling cool” shouldn’t come at the expense of safety.

“Part of Rock ‘n’ Roll is that you’re being a bit anti-authoritarian,” Maddah stated, whilst addressing the controversy that surrounded Thy Art Is Murder’s set at Soundwave Brisbane earlier this year. “But also part of… any rock ethos is respect for your fans,” he said (via FasterLouder).

“I’ve never cared about anyone moshing or doing walls of death. For insurance purposes we have to put signs up that say ‘don’t fucking do it’. But there comes a point where you are putting your fans at risk. And if you are happy having one of your fans end up in a wheelchair with a broken neck, just so you can fucking feel cool and rebellious for five minutes? Then you’re a dick,” Maddah concluded.

As one of a dwindling number of promoters committed to regularly offering all ages music events, Maddah was asked to deliver an address on the topic of “Does anybody give a sh*t about young people?” And the outspoken mogul revealed that when it comes to WA, politicians certainly don’t.

After describing a 2005 meeting with the Perth constabulary, who insisted on hessian-lined fencing “in case we have to rough up some kids,” Maddah recalled speaking to a WA politician who said, “Off the record, we don’t give a fuck about [18 to 25-year-olds]… let ’em live. They’ll go someplace else. They’ll go to another state. And later, when they have money and a family, they’ll move back.”

Much of Maddah’s talk focused on the challenges and restrictions being placed on young people today when it comes to attending shows and drinking. “It’s cruel to keep kids away from what inspires them… Which is why I try my best to make my shows accessible for all ages. And if we don’t do that, the chances are that those kids will get into dance music and incur brain damage.”

Maddah also lambasted the “mass press hysteria” that surrounds alcohol-related incidents at shows and venues, saying proposals to raise the drinking age are a result of politicians not wanting “to deal with any potential hassles of maybe [0.01] percent of kids getting into some kind of trouble.”

Photos: Soundwave 2014 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne 28/02/2014

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