Speaker falls at Denzel Curry concert
After being told not to, South Florida rapper Denzel Curry crowd surfed during his first show at UF, which caused a speaker to topple over, the music to stop and the lights to go on.
The artist, who was paid $15,800 by the Reitz Programming Board to perform, played about five songs for about 30 minutes Friday night at the Reitz Union for GatorNights, a late-night entertainment program held every week. Based on the length of his performance, UF paid Curry about $527 per minute.
Solange Douglas, the Reitz Union assistant director for programs, said the event was originally scheduled to last for 30 minutes and was not cut short by Curry’s actions. She said the Reitz Union wanted to encourage students to go to Midnight Munchies, another program that night.
Curry took the stage a little after 10:30 p.m. and left it a little after 11 p.m., Douglas said.
Megan Newsome, a UF astronomy and astrophysics senior, said Curry was singing “Ultimate,” one of his most popular songs, when he jumped off the stage and landed on top of the event attendees.
Newsome said one of two speakers, which were on elevated tripods at each side of the stage in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom, immediately lost balance and toppled over.
“At first it was a really hectic confusion,” the 21-year-old said. “It was scary not knowing what was going on.”
A few minutes later, Curry came out from backstage and walked around the ballroom saying hello and high-fiving people at the concert, Newsome said.
Douglas said the Reitz Union staff spoke to Curry’s agent and manager about how he would interact with the crowd beforehand and discouraged him from crowd surfing, but Curry did it anyway.
“We are very disappointed that our talent decided to jump the stage and crowd surf, as you would say,” Douglas said.
Douglas said one of the two speakers, which were located behind the barricade to protect attendees, did become unsteady at some point, but the Reitz Union staff was able to catch it before it hit the ground.
The Reitz Union staff received a report for one injury during the event — a girl received first aid for a scratch on her arm — but it was not a result of the speaker falling or Curry crowd surfing, Douglas said.
After confusion about what hit the speaker, Curry tweeted from his official account, “I didn’t hit a speaker the barricades did but UF was fun” at 11:34 p.m. Friday.
When Newsome, who is 5 feet 1 inch tall, was in the front of the stage jumping around, she said she got elbowed a few times and lost her breath, so she backed away and enjoyed the rest of the concert from a safe distance.
Although Newsome said she understands the Reitz Union couldn’t have planned for the energy of the crowd, she believes they could have done a better job securing the speakers on what she described as “not too sturdy” tripods.
“The problem was either a too rowdy of a crowd, a poorly put together stage or both,” Newsome said. “On one hand, it was unforeseen, the excitement of the crowd, but it is kind of embarrassing we didn’t prepare better.”