‘The Who’ concert, remembering those who died 40 years ago

‘The Who’ concert, remembering those who died 40 years ago
A memorial takes place for 1979 The Who Concert tragedy. File photo

CINCINNATI (FOX19) -It was 40 years ago Tuesday when 11 people died after a stampede occurred right before The Who concert at Riverfront Coliseum.

Thousands of people were outside the Coliseum for hours waiting for the British rock band to perform songs like "My Generation" and "Baba O'Riley.' It was not until fans started hearing music coming from inside the Coliseum, that they all rushed in at once.

That was when 11 people were crushed to their deaths.

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Our partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer say at the time, seating inside the arena was on a first-come, first-served basis. So fans were rushing to get to their seats. A lack of preparation was also the cause of the stampede.

The band did not find out about it until after the concert.

Of the people who died were Finneytown students Stephan Preston, Jackie Eckerle, and Karen Morrison.

In 2010, a scholarship fund, P.E.M. Memorial Scholarship fund, was founded to honor them.

It was not until May 2018 when lead singer Roger Daltrey stopped by the Queen City again. He paid his respects to the ones who died and also met the organizers of the P.E.M. Memorial Scholarship fund.

According to the fund's website, three scholarships are awarded annually to eligible Finneytown High School seniors who are looking to major in the arts or music.

“We’re turning a negative situation into a positive thing,” said P.E.M. committee member, Steve Bentz. "They all loved the arts.”

Our partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer say the concert is the deadliest in U.S. history.

“He [Daltrey] does mourn December 3rd every year," said P.E.M. member Fred Wittenbaum.

Since 1979, The Who have not returned to Cincinnati for a concert, but have come for solo concerts.

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