The Breakout Festival grounds at Hastings Park in Vancouver quickly turned into a scene reminiscent of Woodstock ‘99 Sunday (Sept. 18) night, after the headlining act Lil Baby cancelled his performance at the last second.
Attendees’ disappointment quickly turned into anger, according to the festival’s organizers at the PNE, who said in a statement that their amphitheatre and parts of Hastings Park sustained significant damage.
About 5,200 people were in attendance, 4,200 of whom left the venue respectfully after organizers discovered Lil Baby had left around 9:15 p.m., PNE said in a statement.
According to the organizers, the other thousands of people stayed on the premises and did hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
Social media videos show concertgoers demolishing a beverages tent and hurling trash cans. Several hundred people also started fights, threw tables and refrigerators, and scaled objects like lamp posts, according to the Vancouver Police Department.
According to VPD, areas of the nearby neighborhood also suffered damage.
This city was due for a riot. pic.twitter.com/FEqvAybKDJ
— ryan (@schaaptop) September 19, 2022
Before the rioting began, there were already police present for regular security duties, but when things started to go out of hand, hundreds more were called in.
Bottles and other objects were hurled at some officers, according to a statement from Const. Tania Visintin. For disturbing the peace, the department detained seven people and opened a criminal investigation.
According to Visintin, “We will conduct a comprehensive and thorough inquiry into the actions of anyone who damaged property, endangered concertgoers, or engaged in other criminal activity.” “We will seek criminal charges against those who took part in this violence and destruction, even if this inquiry will take time.
According to the Twitter account for Breakout Festival, Lil Baby suddenly felt sick and decided not to go the stage.
“Lil Baby arrived to Breakout Festival and was unfortunately too sick to perform. We know you were looking forward to seeing him but these circumstances are beyond our control,” reads the festival’s tweet.
— BREAKOUT FESTIVAL (@BREAKOUTFEST_) September 19, 2022
The hip hop and rap artist, whose real name is Dominique Armani Jones, apologized on his Instagram on Monday. For the past few months, he claimed, he has been “going hard,” and as a result, his body “totally shut down.”
In a message shared on his Instagram story, Baby said,
“I would like to start off by saying I truly apologize Vancouver, Canada, The Breakout Festival and to everyone who was in attendance. I have been going so hard these past few months without any breaks that it finally caught up with me, and my body completely shut down. I owe you guys big time and will for sure make up for it soon.”
The PNE organizers issued their own statement Monday, saying they are focused on the state of their staff and venue neighbours.
“Today, our first priority is for the safety and well-being of our staff as many were deeply affected by the reaction of guests and behaviour that ensued,” organizers said in a statement.
“To our neighbours – the PNE is incredibly sorry for the actions of those guests and impact this behaviour may have had on our community. We will be undertaking a full investigation and will be making further statements shortly.”
They added in a later statement that they are working with the festival’s promoter Timbre Events and their insurance provider to cover the repair of all damage within the PNE site and the surrounding community.
VPD said its investigation will likely take several months.