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Rock am Ring organisers deal with ‘terrorism’ scare

Production team handles second challenging disruption in as many years

By IQ on 05 Jun 2017

Rock am Ring, the Nürburgring

Fans enjoy the final day of Rock am Ring 2017

For the second year in succession, Germany’s highly successful Rock am Ring festival was disrupted for a day – this time because of a terrorist threat which prompted a mass evacuation of the site on Friday, 2 June.

Last year, storms forced a premature end to the event, but with the help of police and security experts on site at the Nürburgring festival site, promoters Marek Lieberberg Concert Agency, were able to reopen the gates for fans on Saturday and the festival ran to schedule for the remainder of the weekend.

The drama began when organisers were advised by police that they had grounds to believe there was be a credible threat to the fans, artists and staff working at the event. In a statement to revellers, the promoters said, “Due to a terrorist threat the police have advised us to interrupt the festival. We ask all the festival visitors to leave the festival site in a calm and controlled manner towards the exits and camping grounds. We have to support the police investigations.”

Around 90,000 fans were expected to be at the event.

“You showed what it means to live the spirit of Rock’n’Roll! We bow to your enthusiasm, your defiance, your devotion, passion, and joy in life!”

Meanwhile, police officers and security staff carried out intensive searches of the festival site throughout Friday night and the early part of Saturday, before giving the all clear so that fans could return early on Saturday afternoon.

Among the acts who were unable to perform because of the shut down were former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, Rammstein, Bastille and Rag’n’Bone Man. However, Saturday’s programme went ahead according to schedule after fans were allowed back into the festival arena shortly after 1pm.

Explaining the reasons behind the evacuation, German police said the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which claimed the lives of 22 people, had prompted changes in planning for Rock am Ring, with the number of security officials increased substantially to 1,200.

Police in the nearby city of Koblenz revealed it was their decision to order a temporary halt to the festival as a precaution after receiving “a concrete warning that made it impossible to rule out a terror threat.”

Having ruled out any danger, organisers were able to resume the programme on Saturday, where a good natured crowd openly showed their defiance to terrorists with signs and placards that they had made overnight in their tents.

Thanking fans for their patience and understanding, a statement on the Rock am Ring at the conclusion of Sunday’s programme said, “We thank you for a truly unforgettable [Rock am Ring] 2017! You showed what it means to live the spirit of Rock’n’Roll! We bow to your enthusiasm, your defiance, your devotion, passion, and joy in life! Let us continue to celebrate what we love! See you next year, 1-3 June 2018!”


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