Pharrell stopped his show twice to let fallen people safely leave

Pharrell Williams prioritized his fans over his performance during his Something in the Water Festival in Washington, D.C .this weekend. He stopped the show twice to make sure fans in need of medical attention were taken to safety. In the first instance, Pharrell, who was performing with No Malice and Pusha T, stopped the show and silenced the crowd as an overhead announcer gave instructions. Pharrell asked fans to help medics find the person and then give him a thumbs up when things were okay. He stopped again when he noticed a second individual in trouble. When he’d finished his set, Pharrell thanked the attendees and applauded them for helping out their fellow concert goers.

Pharrell Williams is all about the safety and wellbeing of his fans.

The musician, 49, stopped his performance multiple times during the second day of the Something in the Water Festival on Saturday, after two fans apparently suffered medical emergencies.

In one video shared online by Fox 5 DC, Williams can be seen onstage with fellow artists No Malice and Pusha T as an overhead announcement asks attendees to help locate the fan in need of assistance.

D.C. Realtime News shared in a tweet that the concert event was later stopped once more after another patron fell ill. “@Pharrell stop[ped] the show to make sure this individual is attended to. Nothing but RESPECT for doing this,” they wrote.

After the event, Williams thanked fans “for taking care of each other” and shared a video of himself and the other artists onstage amid the break in performances. “Ain’t that what we do? We lift people up,” the “Happy” singer says in the clip.

[From Yahoo]

I have some questions but let me say first that I think this is fantastic. I love these artists looking out for their fans and making it so medics can easily access people in trouble. It’s scary in those general admission situations, especially festivals. I agree with the person who tweeted out, I have nothing but respect for Pharrell for doing this. These stories are in contrast to the tragedy that ultimately cost 10 people their lives at the Astroworld Festival, in part due to the show not being stopped to manage the chaos. Since then, Billie Eilish made news for stopping two concerts to get fans help. Doja Cat helped a fan out in Argentina and John Mayer stopped his first solo show after the pandemic to allow medics to assist a woman. So here’s my question: do these medical emergencies happen all the time and we’re just hearing about them? How are artists noticing so many situations now? Again, I am all for this new awareness, I just can’t figure out if this happened and wasn’t reported on prior, or people were dropping at concerts and ignored. My second question is: these tweets about the pausing the concerts read like they’re defending the artist. Are people complaining that musicians are doing this? I mean people besides Kanye. I understand being bummed if my favorite song was interrupted but never being upset that someone was getting medical assistance. Regardless, Pharrell did the right thing and no one was hurt. And I appreciate that he thanked his fans for looking out for each other. That’s cool.

What’s also cool is Pharrell paying off student loans. He paid the student debt of five NAACP leaders directly ahead of his Something In the Water Festival as a surprise to them, making a huge difference in their futures. Pharrell was just spreading the love this weekend.

Photo credit: InStar Images and Twitter

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21 Responses to “Pharrell stopped his show twice to let fallen people safely leave”

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  1. Steph says:

    I’m glad he did this but I’m still not convinced Scott actually knew what was going on.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      I’m convinced he didn’t. The lights, the noise, his own ego and possibly alcohol or drugs can easily inhibit his awareness. And it was after this event that performers started becoming more aware of their crowds.

      Still, Travis eventually did see commotion once it was obvious to all and did nothing.

      • HeatherC says:

        I think it was after this event that more attention was paid to performers that stop shows for fan safety because it didn’t start as a response to Scott’s (and his team’s) irresponsibility and negligence. Nirvana did it. Rage Against The Machine did it. Linkin Park did it. Shinedown has done it. Papa Roach. Disturbed. Five Finger Death Punch. All before Astroworld. (this is my genre of music, I know other genres have their own hefty lists as well)

        Your better performers keep an eye on the crowd, or have teams that do so. And while (in my preferred genre) moshing and crowd surfing is encouraged, I’ve never attended a concert where bands/artists have advocated like Scott did for crowd surges and fights (Dave Grohl stopped a Foo Fighters concert and threw out a guy who was trying to start fights).

  2. Lauren42 says:

    I can say that at almost every popular, crowded, outdoor concert I’ve been to (all sorts of genres) I’ve seen at least one person that needed space and possibly some sort of medical check. In most cases, it seemed like a friend was able to escort them out without too many issues, but I’ve also seen EMT’s have to struggle into the crowd once or twice.

    Good on these performers for having the awareness of what is going on in these big crowds. Erring on the side of caution is never a bad thing and it shows they care about their fans. I really didn’t think they could see or hear much of anything except what’s in their in-ear microphone when they’re up on a lighted stage like that.

    • Steph says:

      I’ve only been to two of these types of things (I really, really hate crowds) and the second gave me severe anxiety for about 2 yes bc there was a stampede. The first was in W. VA and as Black woman I mostly hid.

      How do you relax enough in that setting to enjoy yourself?

      • Lauren42 says:

        @Steph, I always stay on the edges! I’ve always gotten anxious in the crush of a hyped-up crowd, even when I was young and more adventurous. A big no-thank-you-very-much to being unable to freely move and walk out if I feel like I need to. Even thinking about it makes my skin crawl right now!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Not only can the musicians see and hear, but their teams can. And if the show needs to stop for a medical situation, the team should inform the performers.

  3. Steph says:

    I’m really happy Pharrell did this but I’m still not convinced Scott was aware of what was going on.

  4. jferber says:

    Good on Pharell and he looks better than ever. The thing with Scott is that in the past he’s encouraged his audience to rush the stage, disobey security and he’s posted pictures of fans passed out with injuries and praising them for “not giving a fuck that they broke an arm” or whatever. It’s like Scott enjoyed the chaos and didn’t care about fans’ physical safety. And if the artists mentioned above were looking out for their audience and stopping concerts to get them help, why couldn’t Scott? Was Scott high as a kite at that concert? Did he see it and just not care?

  5. Wiglet Watcher says:

    I’ve heard a few anecdotal, first person stories about Pharrell. He always comes across as a good, down to earth guy.

  6. HeatherC says:

    I attended Welcome to Rockville last month, the largest hard rock/metal festival in the US. There were easily over 100,000 people and I’d guess more than half stayed to the end of the first night to see Papa Roach. Mosh pits and crowd surfing is almost a given at these types of events, Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach stopped the set for the safety of the fans, twice and he’s done this before the Astroworld incident. One of the times was to get EMTs to a mosher that got hurt and another time when he noticed a crowd surge toward the barrier. I’m glad more attention is being given to music acts that keep the safety of the fans that paid to see them in mind.

    If Scott didn’t know what was going on, that’s on him.

    • Steph says:

      @heatherc I’m with you, I am not absolving Scott of responsibility but Ii don’t think he knew in the moment.

    • Christine says:

      Metal/rock performers and fans are some of the best people. I’ve seen shows stopped and fans come together to create a blockade for first responders to do their thing or carry someone out who is hurt.

  7. LightPurple says:

    My sister works as an usher at Boston theaters and a concert pavilion. Medical emergencies are very common. She has had to deal with heart attacks, strokes, seizures, vomiting, people falling, people fainting, overdoses, and many drunks who can’t stand on their own. At one of her venues, there is always an EMT squad in attendance. At all of them, it is not unusual for the fire department to have a crew on-site. The BFD is very strict about maintaining clear aisles so emergency crews can get where they need to be or everyone can safely evacuate and she has been at several shows when the fire department has stopped the performance by cutting off power to the stage.

  8. Katie says:

    I saw Phoebe Bridgers in Forest Hills Queens last Thursday & she stopped the show for someone who needed help. I heard it was the same in Brooklyn earlier in the week. It seems like it’s something most performers understand how to do & how important it is. No one in the stadium was upset. Also, she just started the song over.

  9. bears says:

    Don’t know what I love more – his actions or that magnificent sweater.

    Seriously, I need that sweater.

  10. Stef says:

    So glad he did this and artists are starting to pay more attention to the welfare of their fans.

    I once worked my way up to the front of a Radiohead concert and was getting crushed against the barrier as fans behind me pushed. The band saw me and stopped playing while a bouncer pulled me out. I’d passed out and came to in between the fan barrier and the stage. Luckily, I was OK but it was scary and I’m glad the band was watching.

  11. Fran says:

    Here in Germany, you always have EMTs at any sort of concert, the number depending on the crowd size and the music style. I was at a Rammstein concert the other day where quite a number of people were escorted by EMTs to an area of the stadium where they could be taken care of. Temperatures were rather high so that might have played a part. At another concert, members of the band encouraged the audience to take care of each other. They stopped the show twice when they noticed something was off to enquire if people were okay. There was quite a lot of moshing where accidents may happen.

    • HeatherC says:

      Rammstein is on my bucket list to see again (September 6!) . The venues I’ve been at in the US have had EMTs there as well as different security.

  12. AMA1977 says:

    The only time I’ve ever been in a SRO crowd like that was at a U2 show when I was in my early 20’s, and they only let a limited number of ticketholders into the SRO area (everyone else got seats that had been marked off.) It was an “in the round” type of setup so there really wasn’t a lot of pushing to get right in front since the show went on from all sides. Still, I would NEVER now (20 years later) even if COVID wasn’t a thing. Crowds of people make me nervous.

    I love Pharell and I love hearing that he and his team and collaborating artists are paying attention to their fans and keeping them safe. I also appreciate hearing the stories about other bands/artists doing the same; it shows awareness and respect for their fans.

    Wrapping up to say I’m trying to comment more on the non-royal stories on the site (I never comment on the royals!) because I like that content much, much better. Tired of the Windsor focus.