Riot breaks out at PNE Amphitheatre Sunday after music festival headliner cancels

Vancouver's Pacific National Exhibition estimates rioters caused hundreds of thousands in damages after rapper Lil Baby abruptly cancelled a concert Sunday evening. Grace Ke reports.

A riot broke out at the PNE Amphitheatre in Vancouver Sunday night after the headliner of a music festival did not perform.

Lil Baby was due to perform at the BreakOut Festival Sunday but was unable to do so due to illness, according to organizers.

In a statement, the PNE said “this decision was made immediately prior to his scheduled appearance time, and PNE staff were not made aware of the change until the performer had already vacated the site.”

Lil Baby apology

Lil Baby posted an apology on Instagram Monday morning.

Instagram

According to staff, there were 5,200 guests in the amphitheatre at the time and about 4,200 of those people left.

“Approximately 1,000 of the guests turned their disappointment into a violent outburst that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to PNE property inside the Amphitheatre and in Hastings Park. It is our understanding that there was additional damage to property outside of Hastings Park, in the community and to local businesses. For this we are incredibly sorry to our neighbours,” the organization said in a statement.

Scenes shared online then show hundreds of festival goers trashing displays, throwing garbage cans and knocking over tents.

Vancouver police were called and the crowd did disperse.

In a statement Monday, Vancouver police said multiple arrests were made at the scene after fights broke out inside and outside the venue and “significant property damage occurred.”

Police officers were already inside the venue and providing extra security when the fights broke out.

“Dozens of extra officers were redeployed from other areas of the city to restore order, with some officers having bottles and other objects thrown at them,” Const. Tania Visintin said in a statement.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers also responded to help.

Police said no major injuries were reported but it is likely that several thousand dollars of property damage occurred.

“Garbage bins and food vendor kiosks were overturned and damaged during the chaos. Tables, refrigerators, and tents were knocked down and thrown. Several people climbed various fixtures including a tall lamp post,” Visintin said in the statement.

Seven people were arrested and taken to jail for breach of the peace, however, the criminal investigation will likely take months to complete.

“We will conduct a full and thorough investigation into the actions of anyone who destroyed property, put concert-goers in danger, or committed other criminal acts,” Visintin added. “Though this investigation will take time, we will pursue criminal charges against people who participated in this violence and destruction.”

The PNE said the display of “senseless violence” has shaken the team.

“Last night’s events are inexcusable and do not reflect the values of the PNE or the vast majority of our guests. We are thankful to the members of the Vancouver Police Department and Metro Vancouver Transit Police who worked quickly to restore order to our community.”

The organization also said it will be working with neighbourhood businesses or homes that were affected and working with the promoter of BreakOut Festival, Timbre Events and their insurance provider.

Read more:

Attendance at PNE 2022 about 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels: organizer

The BreakOut Festival is a hip hop festival that was happening in Vancouver this past weekend.

 

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