Many music acts prefer festival seating because it allows the most enthusiastic fans to get near the stage and generate excitement for the rest of the crowd. Some performers and bands insist on a festival seating area near the stage.
On December 3, 1979, the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio, was the site of one of the worst rock concert tragedies in United States history. Eleven fans were killed and several dozen others injured in the rush for seating at the opening of a sold-out concert by The Who. The concert was using festival seating. When the crowds waiting outside heard the band performing a soundcheck, they thought the concert was beginning and tried to rush into the still-closed doors, trampling those at the front of the crowd.
The tragedy was blamed on poor crowd control, mainly the failure of arena management to open enough doors to deal with the crowd outside. As a result, concert venues across North America switched to assigned seating or changed their rules about festival seating. Cincinnati immediately outlawed festival seating at concerts, although it overturned the ban on August 4, 2004,, since the ban was making it difficult for Cincinnati to book concerts. (In 2002, the city had made a one-time exception to the ban, allowing festival seating for a Bruce Springsteen concert; no problems were experienced.) Cincinnati was the only city in the U.S. to outlaw festival seating altogether.
In a vehicle seats are facing forward, or partly forward and partly backward, facing each other. Sometimes there are seats facing to a side.
See also Coach (rail)