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Circus Maximus to continue as gig venue after row

The director of Rome's Colosseum called for an end to "mega concerts" at the ancient site following last week's Travis Scott show

By James Hanley on 14 Aug 2023

Circus Maximus

image © Rabax63

Italy’s historic Circus Maximus is to be retained as a concert venue despite the row around last week’s Travis Scott’s gig.

The director of the nearby Colosseum called for an end to “mega concerts” at the ancient Rome site after the 60,000 fans jumping in unison at the rapper’s 7 August gig apparently sparked earthquake fears.

But according to Wanted in Rome, the city’s mayor Roberto Gualtieri and Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano have agreed the venue can continue to host concerts with the proviso that organisers face more stringent controls and sanctions. Each show will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Scott became the latest contemporary act to play the  site, which is close to the Colosseum, following shows by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Imagine Dragons earlier this summer. The venue has hosted the likes of the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Maneskin and David Gilmour in previous years.

Meanwhile, Alessandro Onorato, the city’s councillor for tourism and major events, has slammed the controversy over Scott’s performance as “surreal”. He adds that the venue generated €2.1 million from events last year, with each show bringing in around €350,000 to be used towards maintaining and protecting Rome’s archaeological sites.

“We welcome safety discussions, but there’s the risk that we’re discriminating against an entire generation”

Oronato also played down reports that 60 fans required medical attention following a suspected pepper spray attack during Scott’s show.

“The story is not as it was reported,” Onorato tells the Hollywood Reporter Roma. “It was three boys, I would say three criminals, who attempted to attack the cashier of the bar in the centre of the Circus Maximus, using pepper spray as a weapon. The theft was averted by security, but the three fled. And the cloud irritated the people nearby.”

No severe injuries were reported, although some people received assistance for minor eye and throat irritation.

“The police have opened an investigation, but as far as the concert and its management are concerned, there were no other problems or incidents,” says Onorato. “Zero medical incidents.”

He notes that an incident in which a 14-year-old was hospitalised after falling from a height, having allegedly attempted to elude security to enter the concert, happened far away from the venue.

“The only other major concert to receive strong criticism was that of Måneskin,” he adds. “We welcome safety discussions, but there’s the risk that we’re discriminating against an entire generation.”


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