10 of the Highest Arrest Totals In the History of Rock Concerts

Jim Morrison

Just about everyone loves a good concert or festival. They feature big name artists that can attract record numbers of people. When you get large numbers of people in one area sometime things can happen. In some instances events have happened that produced large numbers of arrests. Arrests generally tend to be drug and alcohol related but in other unfortunate cases there have been violence and even deaths at some of the events.

This is a list of some of the highest numbers of recorded arrests at concerts or festivals. In some of these cases the events were peaceful and resulted in non-violent arrests but police were not tolerating the illegal activities that were rampant. Most of the notable events that had high numbers took place over a several day period of time.

1. 500 Pink Floyd fans were arrested at a concert in Los Angeles in 1975.


The band played The Los Angeles Sports Arena for five straight nights. The police chief of the city vehemently opposed rock and roll and especially concert goers that smoked marijuana. He made a point to arrest as many people as was possible for whatever charges he could implement. Most of the charges stemmed from simple possession but others were for lewd conduct in public. Five hundred eleven concert goers were arrested during the course of the concerts.

Public backlash of the chief’s tactics led to the chief backing down from his stance on concerts. Concert goers were lighting up as soon as the concerts started because they knew that the police department would look the other way because of the controversy. This set the tone for future concerts over the next couple of years while he remained in office after refusing to resign.

2. 55 People arrested at Keith Urban Concert.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: Recording artist Keith Urban performs onstage during "The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles" at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

In July of 2014 at a concert in Massachusetts was part of the Raise Em’ High tour that took place at the Mansfield Xfinity Center, fifty five people were arrested along with 46 medical incidents and twenty two hospitalizations. Most of the medical emergencies were due to excessive alcohol consumption. The arrests were for a variety of reasons. Communities from surrounding areas were asked for assistance and a mass casualty declaration was put in place to obtain the help needed to deal with the concert incidents.

3. Hundreds of Phish fans arrested in NYC


The popular jam band Phish had a four day concert run in New York City for a New Year’s Eve celebration in 2013. A total two hundred thirty eight people were arrested over the four day concert. Most of the arrests were drug related. The most common charge was possession of marijuana and Molly. A few of the concert goers had large amounts of a variety of drugs ranging from LSD to mushrooms. Phish made no comment on the large number of arrests at the concert.

4. 177 arrested at the Stagecoach Festival In Indigo, California.


The country music festival in Indigo, CA boasted a record number of arrests for a variety of different offenses. The incidents occurred in 2014 and was just one of a series of high numbers of arrest related to country music concerts getting out of control. The Summer of 2014 is known for its chaos at country concerts. The concerts have calmed down some since that Summer but country music concerts have changed a great deal in the last few years.

5. Bonnaroo festival in 2014


Not only was 2014 a crazy year for country music concerts and festivals but rock and alternative music as well. 278 arrests were made at Bonnaroo in Tennessee. No confirmations on what all the charges were, but one can assume that they were most likely drug related. Despite the high amount of arrests, no one died that year which was an improvement from past years that the festival took place.

6. Woodstock ’99


The Woodstock concert of 1999 was supposed to relive the peace, love, and sense of community the previous generation had celebrated thirty years earlier. This idea quickly dissipated when conditions at the event went from bad to worse. The rain started and did not stop which left people wallowing in sewage and mud. Many of the people began to riot and set structures on fire. There were dozens of sexual assaults and thousands of people injured in some way. Police managed to only capture forty four of the culprits but many more had gotten away. The concert went down in history as one of the biggest organized concert disasters of our time.

7. Coachella had 84 arrests in 2014


The hippie style festival Coachella had a high number of arrests in 2014. There was a total of eighty-four arrested during the three-day concert. Most of the arrest were drug related . Coachella had been know for its high arrest rate in the past. People were surprised that it fell below the Stagecoach Festival’s arrest rate that same year.

8. 61 arrested at Hip Hop Festival in New Jersey

Summer Jam 2015

In June 2015 sixty-one concert goers were arrested at the country’s largest one day Hip Hop music festival called Summer Jam. Fans rushed the barricades and started throwing bottles which prompted the police to launch tear gas into the crowd and they managed to arrest the sixty-one individual that they could catch. Ten State Troopers were injured in the incident.

9. 15 arrested and 60 thrown out at Kenny Chesney concert


In 2011 fifteen individuals were arrested at a concert at Lambeau Field. Kenny Chesney was the healiner at the event. Most of the arrest were alcohol related, and another sixty people were thrown out without being arrested. Speculations as to whether or not the police were prepared for high numbers of arrests is a topic of conversation. Many feel the number should have been much higher.

10. 100 arrests at PNC Bank Arts Center


J Cole, Big Sean, and YG were the headliners at the concert where two were killed, and chaos erupted. The New Jersey police had to break up the event and in all one hundred two people were arrested either in connection to the events that led to the shooting or for random violence or drug possession.

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