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Ohio State Game Day Security Considered National Model

August 27, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The average fan arriving at the Ohio stadium for game day walks through layers of security that they did not even know existed.

“By the time the fan enters the stadium and get to their seat, they will have gone through about five layers of security,” said Ohio State police Deputy Chief Richard Morman.

Law enforcement officials also credit a strong no-alcohol policy as a reason why there are fewer arrests at Ohio Stadium after games that at other large sports venues.

“In the state of Ohio, it’s illegal to have an open container,” Morman said.

Though security is as intense as usual, a few charges will see seen at the stadium this year.

Many students chose not to purchase tickets this year.

“This year, we did have a dip in student sales and didn’t go through allotment for the alumni lottery,” said Brett Scarbrough of Ohio State Ticketing.

Games against Michigan and Nebraska are already sold out.

A new scoreboard also will greet visitors.

The new $7 million high-definition board is 125 feet long and also packs a new speaker system.

“We have it positioned so the speakers won’t hurt anybody’s ears,” said Don Patko, associate athletic director.

The university also did something about the lack of cell service at the Horseshoe on game day.

“We will have some digital antennas outside the stadium to help alleviate that,” said Mike Penner of the stadium operations team.

Los Angeles-area sports fans told to mind their manners

By Dana Bartholomew, Staff Writer, 08/28/2012

Ball games and sporting events across Los Angeles on Monday just got nice.

No more cussing out the refs. No more knocking back too many beers. No more shoving matches with out-of-town fans.

In an effort to make ball games from Angel to Dodger stadiums safer and more family friendly, teams across the Southland laid down the nation’s first uniform rulebook for fans. Break any of its 10 commandments, officials said, and you’re either out on your ear – or you’ll be sent to jail.

“The first code that you can’t swear anymore applies to me,” said hockey fan Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the L.A. Kings, the L.A. Galaxy, hosts the L.A. Lakers and hopes to woo a professional football team downtown. “So I’ve promised to abide by the new code.”

The so-called Southern California Fan Code of Conduct, created by the Los Angeles Sports Council, was announced by more than two dozen of the region’s top professional and college sports teams, law enforcement and elected officials at a downtown news conference.

The new rules, which mirror what sports venues such as the Rose Bowl already have in place, are simple: If you can’t do it in Disneyland, you won’t do it while watching L.A. sports.

That means no swearing or offensive language, even on T-shirts.
No smoking except in the tiny corral outside. No drunkenness or “excessive alcohol consumption.”

No bringing barred goodies into games – presumably from cheap snacks to flasks of booze. No hurling beer or other stuff into the stands. No leaping onto the field.

No fighting or threatening behavior. In March 2011, Giants fan Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

No balking at showing your game ticket to security guards. In June, actor
Charlie Sheen got booted from an L.A. King’s game at Staples Center after he went outside for a smoke and failed to present his ticket. He then went off on the attendant.

Fans, under the new code, are now prohibited from scalping tickets. And the region’s more than 20 million spectators who buy tickets are prevented from breaking local or state laws.

The Fan Commandments apply from ballfields to horse tracks containing 10,000 seats or more. They were drafted by a so-called L.A. Sports Council Task Force on Fan Behavior following a Fan Behavior Summit last summer of nearly 100 top dogs in area sports and law enforcement.

“This is a real team effort,” said David Simon, president of the sports council, a nonprofit booster of major sporting events from the Super Bowl to the World Cup in L.A. and Orange counties.

“This is our message: We of the community, sports, government and law enforcement, have come together to address bad behavior issues at our local arenas and stadiums.”

Backers of the new rules say they won’t be relegated to the fine print. They’ll be posted right alongside the Dodger Dogs or Clyde Wright BBQ at Angel Stadium.

And they will allow the often competing teams to share practices and procedures about unruly fans – and possibly even the names of known hooligans.

What wasn’t clear was what generated the school-marmish conduct code to be written 90 years after the Rose Bowl opened, 50 years after Dodger Stadium and 13 years after Staples Center opened its gates.

For despite the Bryan Stow tragedy, it’s been years since L.A. hosted the L.A. Raiders, an NFL team infamous for its fan behavior. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he once invited his young son to a Raiders game – and after a fight broke out among fans, the kid refused to see another game.

“Just un-American,” said Yaroslavsky. “That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

“This is about a code of conduct, not a municipal code,” he said. “What we’re asking people to do is to control their behavior.”

Sports officials, who declined to give statistics on fan ejections or arrests, point to a “coarsening” of fan behavior in recent years. County probation officials said that one out of 130 fans was on some kind of criminal probation.

But Los Angeles police said most L.A. fans were well behaved. They said that, despite some rioting during victory parades in recent years, fans were more civil than in other cities.

“I don’t think that right now venues in Los Angeles we are seeing horrendous fan behavior,” said Police Chief Charlie Beck, who supported the new rules. “I think all of us look outside Los Angeles and see things that occur in other venues that is much more egregious.

“I think what we want to do is establish a sporting culture in Los Angeles that invites families … that doesn’t drive people away, but encourages people.”

Among experts, reviews of the new rules were mixed.

David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, said Southern California must set itself apart with a set of fan behavior standards.

“I think this was largely ceremonial,” Carter said. “It underscores that our region will be responsible – and nothing short on that.”

He said sports teams were sympathetic with fans who spent their hard-earned income to go to games to escape the daily grind – and don’t need to find the grind sitting next to them.

“I think, over the years, it’s been incrementally worse. The (sports) industry had to step up.”

But Harold Kassarjian, a professor emeritus in marketing and crowd behavior at UCLA and Cal State Northridge, said the rules may have been established as legal cover against future lawsuits.

“I think these people are just trying to cover their butts … to say they’ve done all they can do so they won’t get sued,” Kassarjian said. “I think (the rules) won’t make any difference in (fan) behavior.

“They won’t affect the fan who, ready to toss his program (across the stands) won’t say, `I’m not going to violate this code of ethics.”‘


Asks fans to refrain from, under threat of ejection or arrest:

• Profanity or other offensive language, either spoken or worn on clothing

• Smoking, other than in designated areas

• Intoxication or excessive alcohol consumption

• Bringing prohibited items into the venue

• Throwing of items or liquids

• Entering the playing field or court at any time

• Fighting or other threatening behavior

• Failing to retain a ticket and/or present it to staff when requested

• Reselling tickets at the venue

• Violating state or local laws


Written by Jeff McDonald, Aug. 24, 2012

SAN DIEGO — In a sharp reversal of their years-old practice, San Diego city officials plan to divide security work at Qualcomm Stadium into separate jobs, recommending longtime contractor Elite Show Services for 24-hour patrols and rival Staff Pro for all events except Chargers football games.

Elite will continue to provide security for Chargers games under a separate contract with the NFL club.

The move, if it stands, could end a long-running dispute over how the city awards Qualcomm work.

The recommendation, formalized in a letter to the two companies Wednesday, is a major policy shift by the Mayor’s Office. Since 2006, city officials insisted that one firm needs to do both jobs to best protect the public and the stadium.

The decision came after Staff Pro protested a 2010 bidding process that originally awarded a five-year contract to Elite, which has provided security at the venue since it was known as Jack Murphy Stadium.

The recommendation may still be appealed, and the contracts are subject to City Council approval. Staff Pro expressed enthusiasm with the outcome, but cautioned that it’s not a done deal.

“I am sure Elite will protest,” said Cory Meredith of Staff Pro.

Elite Show Services did not immediately return calls or emails seeking comment about the decision.

The security contract became a disputed issue in 2009, when The Watchdog reported that city officials had quietly approved a 29-year, no-bid contract to Elite.

At the same time, the city disclosed that in 2006 it had begun requiring all stadium tenants to hire Elite to provide security, ushering and ticket-taking services at events in and outside the stadium. Several tenants complained that Elite charged too much for the type of service provided.

City officials subsequently pledged to put the security contract out to bid, but the process was stalled for years.

The 24-hour security contract was expected to be worth about $350,000 a year. It basically calls for two security guards to patrol the grounds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

But the city’s practice requiring tenants to hire the same company for security and ushering services at all stadium events made the 24-hour security contract much more lucrative. The San Diego Chargers have a separate agreement with Elite for stadium security on game days.

Roy Nail, assistant manager at Qualcomm Stadium, said in an email Thursday that having the same contractor for round-the-clock security and non-Chargers events “is not a long-standing position of the Mayor’s Office.”

Stadium general manager Michael McSweeney has said in the past that the 24/7 contractor also should provide security for events to ensure public safety and consistency.

Nail noted in the email that one contractor was recommended in the initial request for proposals, which was protested, and the award to Elite was overturned.

“The ultimate award was protracted by a lengthy protest,” he wrote.

When the stadium-security contract was first out to bid in 2010, Elite was selected by a three-member committee, even though five other companies offered to do the work for less money.

UTA to sell beer during College Park sporting events

By Diane Smith, Aug. 23, 2012.

ARLINGTON — When the University of Texas at Arlington volleyball team takes the court today at the new College Park Center, fans will be able to sip a beer while watching the Mavericks perform spikes against Savannah State

UTA is joining universities and colleges nationwide in selling alcohol at sporting events to bring in bigger crowds — and boost the game day experience — by allowing their fans to buy a cold one.

College Park, the $78 million arena, also is trying to position itself in a highly competitive sports/entertainment market that includes the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks and several Division 1 programs.

“We want people to come to our games,” said Gregg Elkin, UTA’s senior associate athletic director for external relations. “Beer sales at sporting events are a pretty common thing.”

Beer sales have created a buzz among students, student body President Jennifer Fox said. Many students seem more excited about a tailgating policy that took effect Thursday, she. Tailgating is now allowed on a university lot on south of Mitchell Street on weekends.

Fox, who doesn’t drink alcohol, said she won’t buy beer or tailgate.

Still, she said she understands why it is important for many in the UTA community.

“I do understand the game day experience and hope that both of these new policies will encourage more attendance and school spirit at games,” she said.

Controlled situation

Elkin said UTA is in compliance with state laws and National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. Additionally, police are always present at sporting events.

“It’s a controlled situation,” he said, adding that the idea is for fans to enjoy beer in a “safe and responsible manner.”

Beer sales are a new practice during UTA athletic events, but today won’t be the first time beer was sold at College Park Center. Beer was offered to people of legal age at concession stands during last spring’s Drake concert, UTA spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan said.

UTA receives a commission based on sales as part of its contract with Aramark, the food service company operating that staffs concessions and holds the dining service contract.

Domestic brand beers will sell for $6 a cup and premium labels for $7. UTA’s proceeds go toward College Park Center’s operating costs, Sullivan said.

During athletic events, Aramark will:

Sell beer from all open concession stands.

Ask for identification from anyone who looks 40 years or younger.

Sell no more than two beers per customer at a time.

Stop selling beer midway through volleyball games and at the beginning of the second half of basketball games.

Aramark doesn’t operate concessions at UTA’s softball and baseball complex, so that facility doesn’t fall under the policies regarding beer sales, according to UTA.

“We haven’t announced a decision about the spring baseball and softball season,” Sullivan said.

Campus by campus

Elkin said that when UTA officials began exploring the issue it discovered a surprising number of universities already selling alcohol or planning to sell it.

Some universities were contracting space from venues that already sold alcohol, he said. The University of Minnesota regents, for example, voted this summer to allow beer sales at home games, according to news reports.

The Big 12 Conference has a policy against alcohol sales at championship events, but during the regular season each institution can decide whether it will sell alcohol, said Bob Burda, associate commissioner for communications for the Big 12.

In the UT System, alcohol sales at sporting events vary by campus, spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said.

Alcohol is not sold at concession stands at Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas. But alcohol sales do take place in some other areas. At UNT, beer and liquor are sold in private donor areas, club and suite levels for football games and the hospitality room for basketball games, said Eric Capper, senior associate athletics director there.

Similarly, at TCU and SMU alcohol is only sold in suites and clubs in the football stadium.

At Baylor University, where alcohol is not sold on campus or at sporting events, tailgating is getting more common. Alcohol is not allowed at tailgating either.

Entertainment value

Fox hopes that her classmates don’t get too carried away on game days.

“My primary hope is that students and other UTA community members are safe and do not abuse either policy,” she said.

Fox’s concerns echo a theme that has emerged nationally as more universities decide to offer beer sales during sporting events — a controversial move by those who believe strict lines should be drawn at events that draw underage crowds.

Fox said many colleges allow some form of tailgating on game days, and are allowing beer sales during games. Beer sales took place during last season’s University of Texas at San Antonio football games, which were in the Alamodome.

Elkin said: “We didn’t just do this haphazardly. At the end of the day, it’s getting value for your entertainment dollar.”

Read more here:

Fan Sues Dallas Cowboys for Burned Butt

By Andrew Lu on August 22, 2012

A Texas woman has brought an interesting lawsuit against the Dallas Cowboys, suing the team and owner Jerry Jones for allegedly burning her butt.

Jennelle Carrillo received severe burns to her butt after allegedly sitting on a bench outside Cowboys Stadium, reports CBS. In her lawsuit, the woman says that the incident occurred in August 2010 during the Cowboys’ Blue & Silver scrimmage game.

Carrillo says that temperatures at the time were well over 100 degrees. And after sitting on the bench, Carrillo says that she suffered third-degree burns that required skin grafts.

The lawsuit claims that the Dallas Cowboys had a duty to warn patrons about sitting on the benches. The benches were uncovered, made of marble, and openly exposed to the sun. Carrillo claims this combination caused the bench to become extremely hot and unreasonable dangerous, reports CBS.

While this lawsuit may seem preposterous on first blush, Carrillo may actually have a viable claim.

As the owner of a facility that attracts members of the public, the Dallas Cowboys had a duty to keep its patrons reasonably safe. So when the organization provides benches and seating areas for its visitors, there is likely a reasonable expectation that these seating areas will not severely injure you. In Jennelle Carrillo’s case, the woman says that she simply sat down in an area meant for sitting, and she ended up being hospitalized and requiring a skin graft.

This lawsuit is going to be a pain in the butt for Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones. With the season only a few weeks away, he may want to settle the case. Otherwise, he could face a much bigger loss if the case goes to trial.

Injunction seeks to bar prolific ticket scalpers from L.A. venues

Injunction seeks to bar prolific ticket scalpers from L.A. venues
August 9, 2012, LA Times

Los Angeles’ most recognizable venues — including Dodger Stadium, L.A. Memorial Coliseum and Staples Center — may soon be off-limits to several high-volume ticket scalpers if city prosecutors win court approval for an injunction.

In seeking the injunction against 17 individuals Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich argued that scalpers intimidate and even endanger citizens, create traffic hazards and congestion, and divert scarce police resources.

“Defendants personally act as magnets for theft, robbery, and crimes of violence” at the venues,” the filing states. “Areas with high levels of illegal ticket sales have disproportionately high levels of theft, robbery, crimes of violence and narcotics sales and use.”

The 26-page court filing also cites scalpers’ “unfair competition” against legitimate ticket-selling vendors, causing an unequal distribution of tickets and contends that scalpers pocket hundreds or even thousands of untaxed dollars.

For the 17 people named in the injunction, a violation is punishable by six months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine for each offense.

Trutanich, who said he was victimized as a young man by a scalper who sold him a phony ticket to a Lakers game, said his intent was to put illegal ticket sellers “out of business.”

“This is consumer protection,” Trutanich said. “The days of taking advantage of unsuspecting people who are trying have fun with the family is over.”

Those named in the injunction include a convicted robber and a father-and-son team. They have been collectively arrested, cited or contacted by police nearly 100 times, according to city prosecutors. Several of those named were served with copies of the proposed injunction while illegally selling tickets outside Nokia Center and Dodger Stadium, officials said.

Those venues are part of three zones cited in the proposed stay-away order, which would require defendants to stay at least 100 yards outside of those areas.

At Dodger Stadium, for example, the named scalpers would not be allowed within an area bounded by Riverside Drive and the 5 Freeway, the 110 Freeway, Sunset Boulevard, Echo Park Avenue, Morton Avenue, Avon Street, Duane Street, Park Drive, Avon Park Terrace, Bard Street and Stadium Way.

Around Staples Center, Nokia and L.A. Live, which city prosecutors said has seen an explosion of scalping in recent years, the proposed stay-away zone is bounded by Pico Boulevard, Grand Avenue, the 110 Freeway and 8th Street.

A third zone bars the alleged prolific scalpers from the area around the Coliseum and Galen Centers. Those boundaries include the 110 Freeway, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Vermont Avenue and Exposition Boulevard.

In addition to those limits, the proposal stipulates that those named have no association with illegal ticket sellers or interfere with pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

Defendants may petition the court to modify the terms of the permanent injunction if the defendant signs a declaration that they were not arrested or charged with any crime in the last two years and are gainfully employed.

Laser-pointing incident at ballgame leads to fan’s arrest

August 08, 2012 12:25 am • BY CHRISTINE BYERS

ST. LOUIS • Cardinals’ Manager Mike Matheny personally identified a 17-year-old boy as the fan he saw aim a green laser pointer at the opposing team’s pitcher during Monday night’s game against San Francisco at Busch Stadium, officials said.

The suspect, of Creve Coeur, was booked on suspicion of peace disturbance at an athletic event and was released after posting $150 bail shortly after 1:20 a.m. Tuesday, police Capt. Jerry Leyshock said.

The teen had been in a private suite, owned by Mercy Health, where police encountered resistance while investigating the incident, according to Leyshock. He heads the police stadium detail.

The presence of liquor apparently brought in from outside the stadium may result in action against the box owner, a stadium official said Tuesday. There was no accusation that the boy or any minors had been drinking. Police said most of the occupants of the box were teens.

Police said they would ask the circuit attorney’s office today to file formal charges.

The suspect could not be reached for comment.

A spokesperson for Mercy Health issued a statement that said: “We regret that this incident occurred, but because it is a police matter we cannot comment any further at this time. Mercy is conducting its own internal review of this unfortunate incident.”

Matheny said Tuesday he had never seen anything like what happened in the bottom of the seventh inning Monday night. Giants’ pitcher Shane Loux was winding up to pitch when Matt Holliday saw a laser on Loux’s jersey and stepped out of the batter’s box. Umpire Marvin Hudson called a timeout. Holliday and Hudson looked around the stadium for a few moments before Hudson resumed play.

“One, Matt being distracted by a 90-mile-an-hour-plus fastball coming at him … you’ve got a chance to get a player hurt. And two, it’s a crazy world right now,” Matheny said. “You start seeing lasers and big crowds. I don’t think the kid knew the severity of what he was really doing. But there were a couple things that could have really gone bad there.

“It’s not like he did it the one time and said, ‘Ooh, that’s probably not a good idea.’ The whole dugout jumped up trying to find him, and then he kept doing it.”

Leyshock and Joe Walsh, director of security and special services for the Cardinals, said there is no way to distinguish a prank from a gunman aiming a laser-equipped firearm. “Then when you go into what’s been going on in the country right now, it’s totally irresponsible to pretend you’ve got laser sights on somebody,” Walsh said.

Laser incidents at baseball games are rare here, but it happened at least once at the former Busch stadium, Walsh said.

In July 2009, lasers were pointed at then Cardinals’ shortstop Julio Lugo and first baseman Albert Pujols in Philadelphia. The game was delayed about five minutes in the seventh inning while security searched for the culprit, but none was found.

On Monday night, Matheny eventually traced the laser to a suite along the first base line. The Cardinals’ skipper told reporters Tuesday that he made eye contact with the teen, pointed to him and mouthed the words, “I caught you.”

The boy then laughed, waved and pointed the laser on the field again, he said.

“In between innings, I saw (the laser) glance across the ground again,” Matheny recalled. “I looked up and I caught the kid. I called security over and pointed him out. I said, ‘I caught you,’ and he kind of froze up. They went up and took care of it.”

As security officers converged on the suite, one of them saw three teenage boys leave and one reach into his sock and throw an object into a trash can, Leyshock said. Officers stopped the three before they could leave the park; a laser pointer was recovered from the trash.

Matheny delayed his post-game press briefing to go to the police holding area where the three teens were held, and he identified the suspect.

Leyshock said he and other officers found additional teens in the suite with an adult he identified as an executive with St. Louis-based Mercy Health systems, whom he characterized as “uncooperative” and “confrontational.”

Once the suite occupants left, Cardinals security personnel recovered two bottles of liquor that had been smuggled in against stadium rules, Walsh said.

Alcoholic beverages must be purchased on the premises, and these bottles did not bear concession-area labels, said Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon.

The Cardinals will discuss the issue with the suite owner, which could face sanctions ranging from revocation of privileges to being charged a comparable price for the confiscated liquor bottles, Walsh said.

“We had young kids acting stupid, but we had adults acting even more boorish,” Walsh complained. “They were interfering with what we were doing to stop the problem.”

Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

Arresting Development in London

Man who threw bottle during men’s 100 meters arrested for ‘creating a public nuisance’
LONDON – A man who threw a bottle at the finalists of the Olympic men’s 100 meters was arrested by London police on Sunday night and could face a prison sentence.

Seconds before the starter’s gun went off and with the runners already positioned in their blocks, a beer bottle sailed from the stands and landed close to podium finishers Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, and Justin Gatlin.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told Yahoo! Sports that the suspected culprit was immediately detained and is expected to appear in court on Monday.

“A man was arrested inside the Olympic Stadium earlier this evening on suspicion of creating a public nuisance,” the spokesperson said. “The man had been heard to shout abuse and seemed to throw a plastic bottle onto the track immediately prior to the men’s 100-meter final.”

Creating a public nuisance is a common law offense in the United Kingdom and can carry a punishment of a custodial sentence, a fine, or both. For an infraction such as that which took place, a fine would be the most likely outcome, although British lawmakers have been keen to clamp down on any incidents that affect the reputation of the Games.

Bolt appeared bemused when asked about the bottle throwing at the press conference that followed his second-straight 100-meter gold medal for romping home in an Olympic-record 9.63 seconds.

“I didn’t know about it,” he said of the incident. “I just heard about it.”

Judo bronze medalist Edith Bosch of the Netherlands claimed on her Twitter account that she had been watching the final from near the start line and had physically “beat” the man responsible for the bottle.

“I don’t promote violence,” Bolt said when told of Bosch’s claim. “So I’m sorry to hear that.”

American Gatlin, who came in third place with a personal best time of 9.79, told British sports writer Owen Gibson that he was “aware of the distraction,” according to Gibson’s Twitter account.–man-who-threw-bottle-during-men-s-100-meters-arrested-for–creating-a-public-nuisance-.html

Fan killed; nine injured by lightning after Pocono race

Jay Busbee, 8/5/2012
UPDATE: Shortly after 7:30 ET, Pocono Raceway officials announced that a fan was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. Details have not been released.

Tough news out of Pocono, as the same storm that shut down the race after 98 of a scheduled 160 laps also sent down a lightning strike that injured ten fans just outside the track.

Pocono officials indicated that several of the fans were treated and released from the infield care center, but that five were transported directly to local hospitals. Their names and conditions were not released. In all, two fans are listed as critical, one as moderate, two as minor, and five treated and released.

“Me and my friend just ran into our truck during all the nasty weather,” Kyle Manger, a race fan from New Jersey, told The Sporting News. “The visibility was very poor and all of a sudden (I) saw a bolt of lightning right in front of our windshield. When it became a little more visible, we saw two bodies next to a destroyed tent with people scrambling.”

Jeff Gordon, the race’s winner, recalled seeing lightning strikes right after the race ended, including the one that may have injured the fans. “I’m pretty sure I know which one it was,” he said. “We were walking down pit road, the umbrellas weren’t doing any good, there was a huge, huge crack from lightning. You could tell it was very close. That’s the thing that’s going to take away from the victory, is the fact that somebody was affected by that.”

NASCAR fans have been struck by lightning at tracks in the past. Three fans suffered minor injuries during a thunderstorm in Daytona in 2004. And in 1983, two spectators were killed and six injured during a storm at Dover.–nascar.html

Lollapalooza evacuated because of thunderstorm

AP, August 4, 2012.

CHICAGO (AP) — Police evacuated tens of thousands of concertgoers from the Lollapalooza music festival on Saturday before a powerful thunderstorm swept into downtown Chicago and pelted the outdoor venue with rain.

The event was indefinitely suspended at 3:30 p.m. after a severe thunderstorm warning was issued, said police spokesman Darryl Baety.

The estimated 100,000 fans at the sold-out show left Grant Park calmly as they were led to evacuation and shelter sites in underground parking garages along Michigan Avenue.

Day two of the three-day event, which concludes Sunday, was supposed to culminate with the Red Hot Chili Peppers rocking out on the main stage. Concert organizers said Saturday’s show would resume if and when it’s deemed safe to do so.

“Due to an approaching storm and warnings from the National Weather Service (NWS), Lollapalooza organizers have suspended the festival until further notice,” said an announcement on the concert website and sent by text message to those who downloaded the festival smartphone app.

“Lollapalooza officials are continuing to … monitor weather conditions and determine when the park is safe for festival-goers to return,” it said.

Video screens at the venue also displayed evacuation announcements.

Shelby Meade, a spokeswoman for promoter C3 Presents, said the company regretted having to suspend the show.

“Our first priority is always the safety of our fans, staff and artists,” Meade said.

Powerful winds from an advancing storm were responsible for last summer’s deadly stage rigging collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

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