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'Like being in a human sinkhole': Festival-goers recall panic, chaos at Lovers & Friends

Posted at 6:28 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 15:45:00-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — With big names like Usher, Lil Kim, Ciara, Akon, T-Pain and Sean Paul, the Lovers & Friends Music Festival was supposed to be a fun-filled weekend.

But Saturday night, it took a terrifying turn when a false report of gunfire panicked the crowd and sent many running for an exit. For some, it's a memory filled with trauma and fear.

Ashli Olivas doesn’t know if she can ever go to an event like this again. It may be her first and last time in Vegas. She was one of many who were trampled during the stampede. She just got out of the hospital with a sprained ankle, dislocated shoulder, cuts, bruises and infections in both knees.

"I am going to see a therapist because I am traumatized. It was like being in a human sinkhole. With just bodies," Olivas said.

Jessica Crandall was pinned in the fleeing crowd.

"I called my husband and told him to tell my son Carson that I love him. There’s a shooter and I don’t know what’s going to happen," Crandall said.

Many others also complained about the heat, lack of water and proper cooling at the event.

RELATED: Person dies after medical issue at Lovers & Friends Festival in Las Vegas, police say

"To me, I felt like a lab rat in an experiment. Like I was thrown in there to see whatever didn’t work for the first day we are going to do for second day people. That’s just not right," said Brianna Draher, another festival-goer.

"I shouldn't have to get VIP to feel safe," said Glenda Smith, another attendee.

The aftermath of Saturday's chaos brought an outpouring on social media of concert-goers connecting and sharing their experiences.

Some are considering legal action. At least one person who attended the festival said she reached out to a local injury law firm after her back was broken Saturday night.

"If the security team were negligent and their actions fell below what is considered reasonable in industry standard, then they should be held accountable," said David Menocal, an attorney at Richard Harris Law Firm.

There were also acts of heroism Saturday night when many stopped to rescue those who had fallen. Many expressed gratitude for the anonymous strangers who risked their own safety to help.

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom said he is looking into the issues at Lovers & Friends and will meet with the owners of the festival property. A spokesperson for Segerblom's office told 13 Action News commissioners invited Lovers & Friends organizer LIVENATION to a meeting to discuss what went wrong, but had not heard back on Wednesday.