What Really Happened at Global Citizens Festival?


We went to enjoy the music but ended up running for our lives.

(There have been a few articles relaying what happened at the festival, but I wanted to share my own personal experience.)

Global Citizens Festival is a music festival located in Central Park that raises awareness about global poverty. Separating the various musical acts, influential speakers, such as Andrew Cuomo, share ideas on how they want to improve the world. My friends and I were waiting on line for dinner near the exit between Cardi B and The Weeknd’s performances. All of the sudden, we heard a noise

resembling a gunshot, and everyone in the crowd began sprinting towards us.

Numerous people were screaming and crying; we heard someone shout “there’s a shooter!” Thinking that we now a part of another mass shooting, we hid behind a food counter hoping we wouldn’t get shot. I then saw three of my friends who got lost in the crowd running out of Central Park, so we sprinted to catch up with them. There was a massive stampede towards the exit and out into the streets of the city.

Ambulance sirens were blaring, kids were crying, friends were separated, all while police were attempting to calm the crowd down. As we ran out into the streets of New York City, my friends and I embraced, happy that we made it out alive. It was not until thirty minutes later that we were informed that it was not a shooting. Through word of mouth, we found out that the noise was just a barricade falling. Then days later, it was theorized that the noise was someone stepping on a water bottle.

Many of the articles written about the incident made it seem like the people at the festival were crazy and overreacting. However, in that moment, if you were there, you probably would’ve felt like you were going to die- just like my friends and I did. It is unsettling that as a society we have been trained to believe that the sound of a barricade falling or someone stepping on a water bottle is the sound of a shooting. It is still unknown what truly happened at Global Citizens Festival, but I know that I will be impacted by this experience forever.