Given the amount of data publically available relating to the incident at the Duisburg Love Parade of 2010, this event is a valuable case study for the development and management of large-scale crowd circulation and emergency incidents. Here, we study the crowd dynamics associated with a large crowd event similar to that of the Love Parade in Duisburg. The paper discusses the analysis of observations of the incident and explores the application of an evacuation model to investigate similar crowd scenarios. The data-set produced from this analysis was used to configure the buildingEXODUS model to approximate the original incident to verify whether buildingEXODUS can reliably represent agent actions, the conditions that develop and the impact of these developments upon performance. The model is then used to identify potential alternative crowd management and ingress/egress strategies to prevent the crowd crush incident from occurring. Traditionally, fine mesh evacuation models, such as buildingEXODUS, are not used to investigate high-density crowd conditions, because the underlying discretisation of space limits the maximum density that can be achieved within the models. In this paper, a novel approach is used to combine the data of pedestrian flow and space utilisation to indicate the onset of potentially dangerous population densities using a fine node model. The analysis demonstrates that the model can capture the key elements of such a large-scale incident and identify important causal factors. The work demonstrates that the model is broadly able to capture key crowd features if representative assumptions are implemented. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.