1988 was the biggest ever Donington,107,000 turned up. Given dry conditions that would not have been a problem, however, the festival was marred by bad weather in the week previous to the event which turned the front of stage area into a treacherous slime bowl, it was hard to keep ones footing and once lost, the unprecedented crush of the crowd made it almost impossible to get up again . There were several collapses when Guns N' Roses began to play, due to surges within the crowd and tragically, by the end of their set, two fans were dead, suffocated in the mud under the weight of other bodies that had collapsed (and in some cases, jumped) on top of them.
According to the head of security, the density of the crowd at the front was not considered serious, the problems were twofold.
One of the video screens had been blown down by high winds early in Helloween's set. People would not move from under the screen as it was still broadcasting images and was being partially held up by a fence. This distracted security during the band changeover and at the start of Guns N' Roses set as the debris was still not cleared when they took to the stage.
During the first Guns N' Roses numbers there were crowd surges that flowed across the front of the audience and which led to a collapse in the crowd affecting about 15 people, Guns N' Roses were asked to stop and did so immediately, but unfortunately they began playing again before the problem was dealt with. Once the band began playing, the audience once again erupted into serious movement which led to a worse crowd collapse, this time involving around 35 or so people.
Security attempted to clear the pile of bodies but were hampered by some people climbing onto their backs and jumping onto the pile of bodies apparently in an attempt to crowd surf closer to the band.More security people moved in, the band once again stopped playing, which allowed the area to be cordoned off and the situation was resolved, but not be...