Revellers at a British festival had so much fun they caused an earthquake, scientist reveals

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A view of the main Stage at Tramlines in Sheffield this weekend (Photo: Sheffield Star /

People dancing at a popular music festival had so much fun that they caused minor earthquakes, a scientist has claimed.

Seismologist Paul Denton, project leader at the British Geological Survey, recorded seismic tremors during on the first night of the Tramlines Festival on Friday, July 19.

He said the earthquakes were picked up during the headline set by indie rockers, Two Door Cinema Club which kicked off the three-day festival.

The vibrations were caused by the crowd dancing to the band’s biggest hits.

The festival, first held in 2009, saw more than 70 artists perform over four stages in front of a  crowd of around 100,000 over three nights in Sheffield, South Yorks.

Mr Denton said the frequency of the vibrations matched the number of beats per minute in each song, meaning it was possible to determine which tune is being played simply from the seismic data.

In a tweet, he said: ‘The seismometer record clearly picks up the low-frequency vibrations as the crowds dance to these songs.

The festival was headlined by indie rockers Two Door Cinema Club (Source: Sheffield Star/

‘The dancing (and hence the vibrations) are concentrated during the chorus section of each song and the dance patterns the beats per minute of each song, giving rise to a characteristic frequency of vibrations being picked up for each song.

‘Using just the seismic data it is possible to identify which song is being played.’

Mr Denton’s graph showed the vibrations were heaviest during Undercover Martyn and I Can Talk.

The festival also saw performances from Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers, Courteeners, Smiths legend Johnny Marr, Lewis Capaldi and Nile Rodgers and Chic.
Festival-goer Jake Ashton, 23, from Warrington, Cheshire, said he was not surprised to learn the earth had moved during the gig.

He said: ‘I was quite far back for Two Door Cinema Club, but it was really good.

‘I’d never seen them before, but they are really good live and have some really upbeat songs that get the crowd going. I think because it was Friday and everyone was buzzing made it even better.

‘It was unreal. It was hectic.’

While the earth moved on Friday, Jake said he believes the crowd was even louder on Saturday for Manchester indie favourites Courteeners.

He said the raucous crowd ‘went wild’ for the band’s hit Not Nineteen Forever.

The red-hot crowd at the show at Hillsborough Park, Sheffield, who paid anything between £59.50 and £79.50 for a ticket, also set smoke-bombs and flares off during Lewis Capaldi’s set.

Jake added: ‘Lewis Capaldi was hilarious. He was playing one of his slower, sad songs and stopped halfway through and asked: ‘Who’s let a flare off during this?’

‘Nile Rogers and Chic were great too. You don’t realise how many songs he’s been involved with and then he started name dropping all these people he’s worked with, including Madonna.’


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