A tense situation in New York in the wee hours this morning, described as a “near riot” in media reports, broke out after a 2 a.m. concert by Kanye West was canceled at the last minute.
A crowd estimated in some reports at more than 4,000 fans showed up for the performance at Webster Hall, which holds only about 1,500 people. As the crowd swelled, Webster Hall reportedly shut down the event over safety concerns, preventing West from getting into his own show.
Cars that were parked on the street were damaged as groups of fans stood on top of them. Meanwhile, fans who were hoping to gain access to the venue endured a series of crushes near the front of the line.
“Even before the around-the-block line devolved into a near riot situation, the crowd was functioning at troubling levels of carelessness,” Billboard reports. “Every time the doors of Webster Hall opened to allow 20-or-so people entrance into the venue, the glut of fans waiting behind those allowed entrance immediately bum rushed forward with no regard for the safety of others. This happened at least six times. Every time the crowd blasted forward like an army regiment making a last-ditch effort at conquering an enemy stronghold, several people could be heard fruitlessly shouting warnings that someone would get injured or killed if the crowd didn’t ease up.”
The New York Times adds: “Just past 2 a.m. Monday, Kanye West poked his head through the roof of a car heading north on Third Avenue in the East Village and surveyed what he had wrought. On East 11th Street, outside Webster Hall, maybe a couple thousand young people were clustered — in the street, on the sidewalks, on stoops, on balconies, sitting atop United States Postal Service trucks — waiting for a concert that was beginning to seem as if it might not happen.”
The announced 2 a.m. performance was itself a surprise event. The “pop-up” show was announced by West on Twitter after his appearance as the headliner at the Governors Ball was canceled Sunday morning due to severe weather. The cancellation also shut down sheduled apearances by Death Cab for Cutie, Two Door Cinema Club and others.
“In less than five minutes after the hint was tweeted out, thousands of diehard Yeezy fans flocked to the theater that only holds 1,500 people, with lines covering up to two streets around the block,” the New York Daily News reports.
Here’s a report posted by YouTube News …