I used to run treasure hunts, along with a friend of mine, where teams of four would solve puzzles and clues that would take them through a series of locations similar to the one in the article . This is a really good way to describe the feeling -- I've always described it as "playing secret agent."
Incidentally though, we were always terrified to bring even small groups of people into these various abandoned buildings. I still have nightmares about it. Having a party -- with that many people and that much noise -- is absolutely insane.
 Some examples I dug up: http://imgur.com/a/WVw4Q
I tried for a while to generate interest in a 'no code' sort of limited liability contract which was literally signed with a drop of blood which said "No one is liable for anything that happens to me at this event" that was enforceable in court. Building collapses and 500 die? Oh well. Someone goes ape shit on acid and shoots people, tough. You slipped on some vomit and broke two vertebrae and now cant walk, sucks to be you dude.
The interesting bit for me has always been the contrast between people demanding that they should be allowed to throw parties like this, but then are unwilling to make themselves and no one else solely responsible for what happens.
Of all the things Cory did explore in his excellent book (mostly a screed on big content types) I wish he had tackled that one too.
(We had tshirts made with the exact ticket wording in '01 or '02...)
But, apart from that, you're just plain wrong. Did you even check?
> 4. Admission is at Ticket Holder's own risk. Glastonbury Festival 2013 Ltd and the Premises Licence Holder will not be held liable for any loss, injuries or damages sustained at the event including damage, theft or losses to property and motor vehicles, if the cause is due to the negligence of the ticket holder or the actions of other patrons or third parties or force majeure.
When I was in college I played a lot of intramural softball. Of course you had to sign a release that if you get hurt in the regular course of the game the school wasn't liable. Fair enough. My problem was that they allowed these insane metal softball bats, triple-walled ones that can turn Gary Coleman into Jose Cabrera. As the pitcher I didn't like balls flying at my head (insert gay joke here) at those insane speeds.
I complained and was promptly told 'you signed a waiver'. I made it clear that I didn't sign a waiver for negligence and they were being negligent by allowing unsafe bats, moreso now that I've brought the issue to their attention. They changed their tune pretty quickly after that.
I know Burningman has a _very_ strong "hipster douchbag" reputation these days (and I won't argue that it's not at least somewhat deserved) - there is definitely something more than that as well.
Just being in the middle of the Black Rock Desert can kill you , if you don't drink enough water. There are plenty of ways to die while at Burning Man and people have. In 1996 at one of the bigger burn events, the people in charge of the event were yelling at the crowd to "stand back! We're not professionals!". Much of the large-scale are is dangerous and yet people love to climb all over them and there are no safety nets. It is seriously not an environment for "hipster douchebags" at all.
Releases like that are pretty common in the TV world, eg stunt performers waive their claims against the production company.
I think you'd have a hard time getting attendees to sign such contracts, but people who throw unpermitted parties accept that risk as a matter of course. Of course the smart ones proactively minimize risk for attendees.
Do they have to jump through hoops though?
I imagine a court could overturn a contract if a good case was presented that the person signing didn't realize the implications, etc., and that would be especially likely for a contract signed in the sort of quick/casual atmosphere that likely accompanies a bunch of people going off to a party...
You're better off relying on good will and common sense to make an unpermitted event as safe as possible than pining for some sort of procedural shield. Of course, you can get away with substantially more if you're not engaged in a commercial transaction to start with.
For contrast, I believe that the same event organized in cooperation with the city in a functioning subway station wouldn't be nearly as fun. Perhaps it's the feeling of peaceful anarchy that's most important.
Many parties that take place in abandoned warehouses have a similar vibe - most western nations have cracked down on them on the basis of unregulated drug and alcohol use - although this location is really quite dramatic and I bet the musicians were amazing. I wish there was an mp3.
I don't mind the trespassing so much, but activities without safe words aren't cool.
What's the "safe word" for an long (think international) flight? What's the safe word for a deep-enough-to-require-decompression scuba dive? What's the safe word for a roller coaster? A parachute jump? There are lots of things which, once embarked upon don't have any "easy" ways out apart from seeing them through to the end.
From TFA "To remind you, this is an event with some legal and physical risks. If you are uncomfortable with these risks you should not attend. Really. Once the event begins you cannot leave for two hours."
They made it clear enough - in my opinion. If you're the sort of person who needs a safe word for all your activities, you shouldn't attend that sort of event (or do any of many things which are hard or impossible to "back out of" once started).
And remember, even if the woman knew in advance she was at least somewhat claustrophobic, the exact nature of the physical and legal risks were unknown: maybe the woman would have been fine if they had been climbing up ladders onto an abandoned rooftop instead of down ladders into an abandoned subway.
I'm of the opinion that an event organiser is perfectly entitled to put these sorts of restrictions on participants ability to exit an event (within some reasonable bounds), and so long as it's clearly enough explained before participants agree and attend, a "claustrophobia-induced panic attack" should be no more or less of a concern for event staff than it'd be on an international flight. The sufferer should be extended all sympathy and assistance - but the decision to "break the agreement" should be of the same sort of level as diverting a Sydney to San Francisco flight to Hawaii, sure you'd do it in the face of a clear and imminent medical emergency - but there's a certain (and perhaps large) level of discomfort which passengers are rightfully expected to "put up with" as part of the agreement. People who're "afraid of flying" and prone to panic attacks understand that, and make appropriate decisions (for them) all the time. From the article's "and it seemed that she'd happily embraced the Stockholm syndrome." it sounds to me like she accepted "the rules/agreement" in the end, while perhaps regretting the choice was in this case incorrect for her - the very negative use of the phrase "Stockholm syndrome" implies to me that she thinks the event organisers and the "two goons" did the right thing.
I'm sure other people think differently - and while I respect that different opinion - I'm not sure I agree that every event ever organised needs to cater to every possible latent bad reaction. _I_ want to be able to attend events that challenge my personal limits of comfort/security/sanity/whatever. I'm happy enough for those things to have clearly and strongly worded warnings - but I'm unhappy with someone saying "that's not a restriction imposed by a law of nature, so you can't impose it as a requirement of an event you run".
My questions are: Are there circumstances in which it would be considered appropriate? And what sort of notification do you have to give in advance before it could be widely considered appropriate?
Where I come from, the government considers it appropriate to "lock up" journalists for 6hrs on a voluntary basis in return for privileged early access to information about the federal budget: http://ministers.treasury.gov.au/DisplayDocs.aspx?doc=pressr... I'm not sure how the exemption for "except in case of emergency" is applied, but I reasonably sure it's closer to the "OK, divert the flight from San Francisco to Honolulu" grade "emergencies" rather than claustrophobia or panic attacks.
If I, as a competent adult of sound mind, wish to _choose_ to put myself in a situation where someone will "trap me inside a building by force, when otherwise I would be physically capable of leaving" - what steps does an event organiser have to go to to not be accused of wrongdoing when they do exactly that?
While I'm happy enough that I'd agree to be "bound" by an event invitation instruction saying "To remind you, this is an event with some legal and physical risks. If you are uncomfortable with these risks you should not attend. Really. Once the event begins you cannot leave for two hours." - I can understand that some people might think that's not "enough".
If there are any people reading who disagree that statement is sufficient to justify the actions on the part of the event staff in the article - what would you consider "sufficient notification/agreement"? (Or do you think restricting my ability to choose to be able to go to that sort of event is "right"?)
I'm using the phrase 'safe word' very specifically here. When there is a consensual abridgment of rights or safety, there needs to be a way to distinguish between escape attempts which are part of the play, and a serious withdrawal of consent or change of circumstances. We don't actually know that the woman in the story really wanted out of the hole in the ground. Maybe she was just disappointed with the concert when she found out the full details and wanted to go see a movie instead. Maybe she was having a full blown panic attack from being underground and felt like she was going to die if she didn't get out. Maybe she just had to pee. Maybe she was just testing and wanted to be turned back, wanted to feel trapped because it added to the allure of the event. Mostly we don't know because the author of the article wasn't reporting on her, she was just a background character in the story of the concert to add ambiance. "Oooo, we were totally trapped down there, one woman tried to leave and they wouldn't let her."
In my opinion, striving for absolute pre-consent is wrong, dangerous, and stupid. What if the woman needed to leave because her baby-sitter had just called to say she was leaving and her children were now unattended? What if she was having a life-threatening medical problem (asthma, diabetes, heart condition...)? What if her brother had just been in a car accident, and was at the hospital dying? I assume there are conditions under which you would agree she should leave, even if she agreed not to beforehand. There are situations under which they will turn a plane around, and there are situations under which they will have a diver make a rapid ascent and deal with the consequences later.
In my opinion, a severe panic attack is fully horrible enough to warrant leaving. If it happened in a prison, I'd call it cruel and unusual. We can't know what someone is subjectively experiencing, and it's also very hard to know what someone is physically experiencing with respect to medical conditions, so it should always be within the rights of an individual to declare that the situation has changed and withdraw previously given consent.
He's not stretching - it's one of the very textbook definitions of kidnapping, forcibly preventing someone from leaving a situation. Put it this way, if I, as a paramedic, am on scene of someone who has a medical need, but is of sound mind, if they say "no, I want to get out of this ambulance" - even if we are going lights and sirens to the hospital - for me to refuse leads me to charges of assault, kidnapping, and malpractice.
In _my_ opinion, anybody who argues they've been "kidnapped" if being told they can't leave an event which advertised itself saying "once the event starts you won't be able to leave for two hours" is most likely being unspeakably self centered and disrespectful of everybody else's time and rights. Sure, there are exceptions - and if event staff _really_ tried to enforce the agreed-upon no-exit policy in the face of medical emergency or obvious external need, perhaps "kidnapping" would be the right (or one of the useable) legal remedies, but going down that path for claustrophobia or panic attacks will result in me judging you in a _very_ unfavourable light - in much the same way as I'd be extremely unhappy to have my flight diverted for a panic attack.
In your professional/ambulance case, there's at least one big difference - people don't specifically get asked to agree up front that once they get in the ambulance the deal is they agree not to get out until the end of the ride. And I've got a question - where does practical reality come into conflict with your risk of getting charged? If I demanded to get out of your ambulance immediately, whould you stop and let me out in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Lincoln Tunnel?
Consent goes both ways; if you're told beforehand that you're not going to be allowed to leave, then it's selfish to put everyone else at an increased legal risk that they didn't sign up for.
"Buy the ticket, take the ride."
Even more so, these people.
It's a beautiful piece of history. 
"But it's not safe". What is? In the USA 40,000 die each year from car accidents, 700+ children from drowning, 1 million+ from cancer and heart disease. If going down there wasn't illegal they'd be able to have lighting, security, and other safety measures to make it even more safe.
(btw, this is totally the type of place that Stefon would suggest on SNL)
Plus I doubt the city could get sued for not cementing the place shut. Is the state of Florida sued for not fencing off the ocean every time someone swims out in the Atlantic and gets caught by rip tides and dies? It's reasonable to expect every citizen to avoid abandoned buildings and enter at their own risk.
In New York City they absolutely do. I've seen lots of tickets given for regular and electric bicycles, and I've seen one delivery-guy's electric bicycle confiscated for just that.
If going down there wasn't illegal they'd be able to have lighting, security, and other safety measures to make it even more safe.
'be able to have' != 'actually supply', not by a long shot.
Now I am 40... You kids need to get off my lawn!
As someone with a lot of experience in this area, authorities are in general not so much concerned with administrative propriety as with safety and respect for others (ie noise complaints).
The sickening part is that the city does the math and sometimes its just cheaper to pay the person to go away.
(Remember, being an invitee is different from being a trespassee. If you hurt yourself in a normal subway station, that's one thing. But if you open a manhole and crawl down into an abandoned station, that's another thing.)
A Manhattan jury awarded $14.1 million to a woman who lay
down on New York City subway tracks and was hit by a train
during a failed suicide. Another New York City jury gave
$9.3 million to a man who fell on subway tracks while
inebriated and lost his left arm. Another drunk on the
tracks was awarded $6 million.
Unless law enforcement found these people breaking the law, or "knew" that they did and found evidence of such, there's no recourse. Photos of people at an "illegal" gathering? Maybe the organizers indeed had a permit for whatever space they were in; maybe it was all staged inside a warehouse that they owned; maybe the whole story was concocted by the author.
Ultimately, unless they get caught or leave obvious evidence of exactly what took place in which location involving which people ... there's nothing to prosecute.
Edit: All that said, I'd hate to see the consequences of someone being seriously injured during one of these events. I'm hoping the "Agents" can get the person safely to the surface and that the injured party will remain mum on the details.
EDIT: ha, I missed that part, my eyes must of just skipped over it, figuring it to be more about not taking pictures.
I just like the idea of exploring the "old" abandoned places that are literally beneath our feet.
Then we raved until 9 in the morning to some deep techno. There were no official photographers.
I honestly thought NY would have a majorly active underground party scene.
Not as much though. The police basically killed it completely come the beginning of the 00s. (though there's a chance that I'm now just completely out of the loop so oblivious to it all)
There are still raves in fields, but nothing like to the extent there used to be.
I agree, I thought NY still had a big party scene even if it wasn't necessarily built around dance music.
It looks like the construction had advanced quite far before it was halted.
sometimes when the system gets extended, sections become redundant.
when they built the new South Ferry station they abandoned the old one. then when the new station got destroyed by Sandy they went back to the old one, which is so small everyone has to exit through the first 5 cars.
My friend says the Rails community bifurcated at that moment, split between those who thought it was awesome, and those who thought it was disruptive and unprofessional.
That sounds unconstitutional.
The answer here is: the government can restrict the time, place, and manner of free association in a content-neutral way (ie, it can't regulate based on whether the party is for Tea Partiers, Klansmen, or dubstep fans) so long as the restrictions are narrowly tailored to a valid government interest.
The 50+ people that attend the event have done nothing illegal (other than possibly trespass depending on where the party is and how they get there, and anything illegal they may do while they are at the location in question)
The event organizer who may or may not have endangered all their lives in various ways from fire hazards to toxic chemical exposure to food poisoning. They have done something most would call wrong and are rightly required to submit to the rule of law for the good of the people they may cause harm to and obtain permits proving that they have met certain standards we set to avoid letting people take advantage of the public.
I'll add that I think this may be in may locations burdensome and irritating, but it is important. In the same vein as building construction standards and health inspections in restaurants are important. I do wish it was less 'red tape' but its a matter of balance. Would be nice if the guests could simply sign a waiver, but where do we draw lines? I haven't sufficient ambition to be either a lawyer or politician that I wish to try drawing these lines. I only believe that their existence is important & I know where I feel they should sit.
I like the way they also printed some of the sticker notes on the actual labels. You can see this if you click on the teal sleeve image at the top left.
It's easy to be cynical, so I am!
This one's a little too contrived and self-congratulatory for my tastes, though.
If you go to one that wasn't set up by rich people you get a much more low-key affair; if it's not marketed well enough it can easily degenerate into a handful of people drinking in the dark in an empty building. Which is fun in its own way (but wouldn't lend itself to bloggable photos).
This line was started just before the 1929 crash and never completed. See http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/abandoned/indsecsys.html, there's a hand-drawn map down at the bottom.