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Strong storms force Merriweather Post Pavilion to cancel Halsey concert

Posted at 4:20 AM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 18:31:09-04

COLUMBIA, Md. — “When the actual tornado warning went out, everybody’s phones were going off,” concertgoer Evie DeJesus said. “Everybody was freaking out. There was almost a stampede.”

More than 13,000 fans were at Merriweather Pavilion in Columbia Wednesday night amped up to see pop artist Halsey perform.

Then, Mother Nature struck with a vengeance, leaving those fans disappointed when the show was cancelled just three songs into the opening act.

The concert was halted when a tornado warning was issued in Howard County. Then, damaging winds and torrential downpours approached.

First, people on the lawn were told to take shelter under the pavilion, but as stormwater began spilling into the basin, many headed for the safety of enclosed bathrooms. “I was told that was a VIP bathroom and that I did not have a VIP ticket,” DeJesus said. “I, 100 percent, hold the venue responsible for the whole situation. It didn’t matter who the artist was.”

Water flowed down stairwells and fans of Halsey had to stand on railings and seats just to stay dry.

About two hours after the show began, people were told to head home, and the show was over.

Merriweather Pavilion has since released a statement suggesting everyone was provided cover and says the storm struck more intensely and lasted longer than anticipated.

“I think these sorts of incidents are something that often catches people off guard,” said Howard County Executive Howard Ball.

Merriweather issued the following statement about the cancellation:

Last night’s show ended early due to a storm in the area. While canceling a show is never a simple or easy decision, the safety of fans, staff and artists and their crew always comes first. All parties involved wanted to provide the best possible concert experience for last night’s patrons. When the storm hit last night, everyone was provided cover and told to shelter-in-place. The storm struck more intensely and lasted longer than anticipated. It was everyone’s sincere hope that the show would go on, but ultimately the decision was made to cancel the show. Ticket holders should keep an eye out for an email from Ticketmaster for all updates.

"Our crews were able to quickly get over there and assess that area and determined there was no imminent danger to the civilians who were under that pavilion at that time,” said Howard County Fire and Rescue Chief Louis Winston.

Halsey tweeted about the issues caused by the rain saying she is heartbroken she couldn't perform in the conditions. Halsey says she is not happy with how the venue handled the situation and wants to reschedule elsewhere.