The 193 Deadliest Crowd Tragedies Ever Recorded

About half of people would rather stay inside alone than attend a jam-packed event. While most of these people don’t fear death, it’s one of the risks when you are with hundreds or thousands of others. We’ve morbidly gathered more than 193 crowd collapses and crushes that have occurred throughout the centuries. More often than not, these incidents result in an unimaginable loss of life. Yet we still understand very little about these tragic events.

A common misconception is that crowd crushes occur due to the size of a crowd. Their true cause is too dense of a crowd (more than four to five people per square meter). In such cases, the pressure on each individual causes the crowd to collapse in on itself, or become so densely packed that individuals are crushed and asphyxiated.

Most agree the fault lies with poor event organization, and the major crowd disasters of the past could have been prevented by simple crowd management strategies. Nevertheless, these incidents continue to happen at large gatherings such as religious, sporting, musical, or other events.

So let’s take a look at some of the deadliest crowd crushes ever recorded. While the causes and circumstances for gathering do vary, their commonalities may be able to help us better understand these tragic events.

View Fatal crowd crushes in a full screen map

The 10 Deadliest Crowd Crushes

Of the 193 fatal crowd crushes on the map, several have death tolls that far surpass the rest. Each of the following 10 crowd crushes resulted in the deaths of more than 340 people:

  • 2015 Mina stampede: 2,400+ estimated deaths
  • 1990 Mecca tunnel tragedy: 1,426
  • Khodynka Tragedy: 1,389
  • 2005 Al-Aimmah Bridge disaster: 953
  • 1954 Prayag Kumbh Mela stampede: 500-800
  • Iroquois Theatre fire: 602
  • Chongqing tunnel massacre: 461
  • Unnamed: 354
  • Phnom Penh stampede: 347
  • 2006 Hajj stampede: 345

When it comes to the timing of these unfortunate events, four of the ten deadliest have already occurred this century—even though it’s not even half over. With five total incidents having occurred throughout the 1900s, we’re likely to face more crowd crushes in the next decades than ever before.

Location-wise, Saudi Arabia has been home to the highest number of incidents, with three of the top ten tragedies occurring in the country. More than this, however, is the fact that all three of the Saudi Arabian crowd crushes took place in the same city: Mina. Notably, all of these were religious-type gatherings.

The 15 Reasons for Gathering Before a Crush

The 10 deadliest crowd crushes aren’t the only takeaway from the map. The reasons for each gathering that resulted in a crush are worth diving into.

Crowd Crush Gathering Type No.
Religion 42
Sports 36
Concert or Festival 23
Other Recreation 16
Holiday 13
Funeral 11
Nightclub 10
School 9
Politics 9
Aid 9
Military 6
Transportation 3
Shopping 2
Other 2
Execution 2

As you can see from the table above (and on the map when you group by “​​Gathering Type”), religion and sports events are the most common reasons for gathering before a fatal crowd crush, with 42 and 36 incidents respectively.

The deadliest religious-related crowd crushes include the previously mentioned #1 deadliest crush overall, the 2015 Mina stampede. Meanwhile, the Lima, Peru Estadio Nacional disaster is the sports-related crowd crush that saw the most people die (328 estimated deaths).

Concerts or festivals are the third most common reason for gathering before a crowd crush, while other recreation, holiday, and funeral events also had a significant number of incidents, with 16, 13, and 11 incidents respectively.

Nightclubs, schools, politics, and aid-related events had fewer incidents but still accounted for a non-negligible number of fatal crowd crushes. Military and transportation events had the lowest number of incidents, with 6 and 3 respectively. Shopping events and other types of gatherings had only 2 reported incidents each. Finally, there were 2 incidents reported as executions, which is a particularly disturbing finding.

Note that we manually assigned each incident a type—and there is the potential for overlap. For example, a crowd crush during a NYE concert could be classified as both a concert and holiday. Regardless, types can be especially helpful when you map your data with a tool that groups together your data types.

Why You Should Assign Types or Categories to Your Data

For certain kinds of data—even those entirely pulled from an outside source—there is the opportunity to improve your insights by assigning types or categories.

This could be anything from types of gatherings before a crowd crush, as discussed in the previous section, or even reasons for crush, from fires to police instigation.

Not only can this be helpful when viewing your spreadsheet (you can create filters to only show specific data types in Google Sheets, for example), but also when mapping.

These type or category columns will be suggested for grouping, along with other columns in your spreadsheet that may be useful. You and other users of your map will be able to select only the markers that meet certain requirements, filtering out the rest. Groups can be combined to zero in on very specific results, giving you insight into the story behind the map.

Get started today at

U.S. Festival Types on a Map

We love our obscure celebrations in the United States. Often, these are local events of much note, and we’ve gathered a bunch of them for you on a map.

Yet the 182 festivals that take place each year across the U.S. aren’t very easily defined. Not to stop us from trying to put them into categories or types. These range from arts and crafts festivals to transportation festivals. The two most common festival types include 64 individual events across the country—and there are some pretty spectacular individual events within each type (Sawdust Art Festival, anyone?), as you’ll see on the map below.

View U.S. Festivals in a full screen map

The Two Most Common Festival Types

By far, the two most popular kinds are 1. food, harvest, and wild game and 2. culture, heritage, and folk festivals. While certainly not exhaustive, Wikipedia reports that 32 celebrations in the U.S. fall into each of these two categories, so let’s take a look at some individual examples of these festival types.

Food, Harvest, and Wild Game Festivals

Banana Split Festival in Wilmington, Ohio

The food, harvest, and wild game festival type is pretty self-explanatory. Six such events occur each year in Ohio:

  • Banana Split Festival (Wilmington, Ohio)
  • Pumpkin Festival (Barnesville)
  • Pumpkin Show (Circleville)
  • Festival of the Fish (Vermilion)
  • County Apple Festival (Jackson)
  • Sweet Corn Festival (Fairborn)

Ohio certainly loves its pumpkins—though it’s not the only state with pumpkin-themed events. California’s Half Moon Bay hosts a Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, along with two more events that fall into the food, harvest, and wild game festival category. The Morton Pumpkin Festival also happens each year in Illinois, in addition to another festival of this type. As for where the largest pumpkins of all time are grown, check out our post on the topic.

On the same note, five food, harvest, and wild game festivals take place in North Carolina while two are held in Louisiana, Texas, and New York, including two in the same city: the National Buffalo Wing Festival and Taste of Buffalo, which we assume involves either multiple cuisines prominent in the city or the animal.

Festivals of Culture, Heritage, and Folk

North Texas Irish Festival

As for the other most common type of festival, Texas is home to the most culture, heritage, and folk festivals (four). Borderfest is the largest and oldest music festival in South Texas, held each year in the Rio Grande Valley.

Meanwhile, Dallas hosts two festivals of this type: a Greek Food Festival and the North Texas Irish Festival. Dallas’s Irish Festival may be the second oldest Irish festival in the country, but it’s far from the only one held in the U.S. There’s also the Riverfront Irish Festival in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and the Dublin Irish Festival—also in the Buckeye State. Plus, the capital of Indiana throws an Indy Irish Festival while the Kansas City Irish Fest takes place in Kansas City, Missouri.

Last for Texas is the Texas Folklife Festival, which comes around each year in San Antonio.

To see Ohio’s third festival that doesn’t fall into this category, click through the map. Otherwise, we’re moving on to the rest of the festival types.

How to Analyze the Other 19 U.S. Festival Types

You know about the two most common festival types in the U.S. But with 182 total festivals, food, harvest, and wild game festivals and culture, heritage, and folk festivals certainly aren’t the only types.

Festival type No. of festivals
Food, harvest and wild game festivals 32
Culture, heritage and folk festivals 32
Fine art and theatre festivals 21
Arts and crafts festivals 17
Flower festivals 11
Celebration/talk festivity 10
Alternative festivals 10
LGBT festivals 9
Seasonal festivals 7
Contemporary Christian Festivals 5
Holiday festivals 4
Storytelling festivals 3
Rodeo and horse racing festivals 3
Religious festivals 3
Pioneer festivals 3
Pagan festivals 3
Beer festivals 3
Sports festivals 2
Science festivals 2
Transportation festivals 1
Innovation festivals 1

Tables like the one above are great for displaying your data. But when you want to analyze the same information, there are far better tools, including those that map your data.

Many mapping software options enable you to plot your points, such as ArcGIS and other desktop GIS software, Google Maps API, and web-based mapping tools.

But fewer offer the ability to group your data. When you map your data, you typically have more information than just location. This is why BatchGeo enables you and other users of your map to select only the markers that meet certain requirements, filtering out the rest. Groups can be combined to zero in on very specific results, giving you insight into the story behind the map.

Get started for free at

A Map of the Highest-Attended Concerts

Flip open your Guinness Book of World Records… or just visit the site. There are world records for anything from anamorphic prints to YouTube views—including the highest-attended concerts.

While a French artist started the Guinness Book entry with a 1979 concert, it has since been surpassed… though, amazingly, the same artist still ties for the title thanks to an even bigger performance.

The 48 concerts on the map have had 100,000 people or more attend. For context, the highest-attended Super Bowl ever saw 103,985 football fans in the stands. Yet even the lowest of these concerts had nearly identical numbers, with some even holding over 33 times that amount.

So let’s stage dive into the world’s 10 highest-attended concerts, the artists who have played multiple 100,000+ concerts, and the most common years for these record-breaking events.

View Highest-Attended Concerts in a full screen map

The World’s 10 Highest-Attended Concerts Were Free for Millions

Rod Stewart, NYE 1994, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Altogether, the 10 largest concerts ever performed entertained 20.5 million people. That could have included you and millions of your closest friends for free. Yes, all of the largest concerts ever cost nothing to attend, as you’ll see in the table below.

Artist Title or event Venue City Attendance Year
Rod Stewart New Year’s Eve Copacabana Beach Rio de Janeiro 3,500,000 1994
Jean-Michel Jarre The 850th Anniversary of Moscow State University of Moscow Moscow 3,500,000 1997
Jorge Ben Jor New Year’s Eve Copacabana Beach Rio de Janeiro 3,000,000 1993
Jean-Michel Jarre Bastille Day La Défense Paris 2,500,000 1990
AC/DC, Pantera, Metallica, The Black Crowes, E.S.T. Monsters of Rock Tushino Airfield Moscow 1,600,000 1991
Various artists Live 8 Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia 1,500,000 2005
The Rolling Stones A Bigger Bang Copacabana Beach Rio de Janeiro 1,500,000 2006
Jean-Michel Jarre Rendez-vous Houston Downtown Houston Houston 1,300,000 1986
Various artists Paz Sin Fronteras II Plaza de la Revolución Havana 1,100,000 2009
Jean-Michel Jarre Bastille Day Place de la Concorde Paris 1,000,000 1979

While free concerts can complicate direct comparisons to the rest of the map’s ticketed, single-artist concerts, their attendances are still notable, especially the four headlined by the same artist: Jean-Michel Jarre. The French composer, performer, and record producer is known for his outdoor performances featuring his music (electronic, ambient, and new-age) paired with laser displays, projections, and fireworks.

Jarre first broke attendance records in 1979 at his Bastille Day show at Place de la Concorde in Paris. In 1986, he again bested previous attendance highs when 1,300,000 people attended his Rendez-vous Houston. He did so again in Paris in 1990 with 2,500,000 attending Bastille Day. Finally, his 1997 The 850th Anniversary of Moscow remains tied for the #1 highest-attended concert ever held to this day.

Additionally, two more of the highest-attended concerts were held at the same venue, for the same event during subsequent years: New Year’s Eve at Copacabana Beach. Brazilian singer Jorge Ben Jor played for 3,000,000 fans in Rio de Janeiro on December 31st, 1993 while British rocker Rod Stewart brought his Hot Legs to the same stage the following year when 3,500,000 showed up. It just goes to show that NYE isn’t only popular in the U.S., though the country is certainly known for its variety of ball drops, like an 80-pound decorated cheese wedge or 100-pound stick of bologna.

To see only the most highly attended ticketed single-artist concerts, select the “Type” group on the map and filter by “Single-artist concerts.” Now let’s take a look at more artists like Jarre who have performed for high numbers numerous times.

8 Artists Have Played Multiple 100,000+ Concerts

French artist Jean-Michel Jarre is tied with Rod Stewart for the #1 spot. But Jarre differs in that he has also played three shows with almost-as-many attendees. Stewart only had the one. Along with Jarre, other artists appear on the map more than once. In fact, eight such artists have headlined at least two of the 48 highly-attended concerts on the map.

  • Jean-Michel Jarre: 4 concerts attended by 100,000+
  • Michael Jackson: 3
  • Queen: 3
  • Robbie Williams: 3
  • The Rolling Stones: 3
  • Madonna: 2
  • Oasis: 2
  • Vasco Rossi: 2

Of course, all four of Jean-Michel Jarre’s best-attended concerts were free, as was The Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang show at Copacabana Beach.

Meanwhile, all three of Queen, Michael Jackson, and Robbie Williams’ highest-attended shows were ticketed, single-artist events. Queen’s 1981 The Game Tour at Estádio do Morumbi saw 131,000 attendees.

Similar numbers (125,000) were reported at two of Michael Jackson’s concerts and all three of Robbie Williams’, though Williams’ were subsequent days of the same tour at the same venue, which you can see on the map.

When Major Concerts Were Popular

We’ve answered the who and what of these major events—now it’s time for the when. While the dates of some of these shows have already been mentioned throughout this post, you can see which years most of these huge events were held when you use the map filtering and grouping feature.

For example, group by “Year” and you’ll see various ranges. Here we’ve plotted these large concerts by decade:

This style of concert clearly peaked in the 1980s and 90s, though the 2020s have already nearly caught up to the decade prior. Perhaps there’s a comeback?

What a simple column chart doesn’t show is where the concerts were popular during each decade. You’ll be able to see this visually on the map as you use the grouping options to filter which markers are displayed.

You could do the same with month—July in Europe looks pretty popular! You can scroll back to the top of this post and explore the map or view the larger version.

While it’s fun to imagine Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, and other artists strutting across these mammoth stages, you might prefer to visualize your own data on a map. All you need is a spreadsheet of locations, such as customers or other points of interest. And you can make your first custom map for free.