COLUMBIA, Md. – A Halsey concert ended on a sour note Wednesday as soaked fans waited for the pop star’s concert to begin at a flooded venue in Maryland amid warnings about life-threatening weather.
The rain came down so hard in Columbia, Maryland, that the singer had to cancel her show at Merriweather Post Pavilion, but not without controversy.
At 4 p.m., three hours before the opening artists took to the stage, the outdoor venue told concertgoers that the show was still happening "rain or shine." About 30 minutes before the concert started, severe weather forced the venue to delay the show as the rain started to fall. At 7:15 p.m., officials put the concert on hold and gave attendees the option to leave and renter when it resumed. At 8:40 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for the area, which was in effect until 9 p.m. The venue later tweeted that the delayed show would resume at 9:30 p.m. but canceled the concert not long after.
Evelyn DeJesus attended the show with her sister-in-law. She recorded a video showing water streaming in through the roof, drenching the crowd. As the rain poured down, water flooded the 18,000-seat venue. As thousands of fans rushed out of the pavilion, rainwater could be seen rushing down the aisles. Some said the water was ankle-deep.
Halsey: ‘Disappointed’ at how communication was handled
Concertgoers voiced their frustration with the venue about how the status of the concert was being communicated.
"I totally understand that the venue doesn’t have control of the weather, and that they couldn’t let us leave during a shelter in place order. But the communication tonight was abysmal – why did they wait almost an hour after the severe weather had passed to announce that the show wasn’t happening? And why were we falsely told multiple times that the show would resume at 9:30, when that clearly hadn’t been decided on?" said Tara Little in a post on Facebook from the venue.
Halsey sent her fans on Twitter a message apologizing for the canceled show, saying she was heartbroken and panicked.
"I promise I wanted to (perform) more than anything," she wrote. "But I couldn’t because it would have been so unsafe if I went out there and people rushed the stage during or after the storm."
She went on to say that many things were out of her control, but safety was a priority.
"I am beyond disappointed with the way the venue handled everything tonight, and my rescheduled date will be happening somewhere else," she wrote. "I hear you guys loud and clear I promise."
Halsey's comments came as a surprise Thursday to managers at Merriweather Post Pavilion after they claimed the artist's team was making all the decisions, simply following the artist's lead and announcements as they dictated them.
"It was their decision to hold the show, meaning when the rain came to delay it. And then it was their decision to not come on stage. We just are there to fulfill whatever the artist decides to do," the venue's spokeswoman told FOX Weather. "It's never ideal to have tough weather during an outside show, but thankfully everybody was safe. And that's that's really what matters."
Fans will be issued a refund for the show and a rescheduled date and location has not yet been determined.
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