A riot broke out at a music festival in East Vancouver on Sunday after headliner Lil Baby canceled his performance shortly before taking the stage.
Videos posted to social media show people vandalizing the area around the Pacific National Exhibition amphitheater, including tearing down tents and throwing objects.
The organizers of the two-day Breakout Festival posted a statement on Twitter saying that Lil Baby was “too sick to perform” and that partial refunds would be offered.
“We know you were looking forward to seeing him, but these circumstances are beyond our control,” the statement said.
Other videos show the crowd cheering as the statement was read onstage by an organizer.
The PNE said the decision was made just before the headliner was due to start, and staff would not be notified of the change until Lil Baby had left the stage.
A witness who recorded several videos of the ensuing riot told CTV News the scene was “complete chaos.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest. They were just a bunch of kids that got out of hand,” Matt said, asking that he be called by his first name only.
He estimated that the violence lasted about an hour and only stopped as the rioters ran out of gear to break.
There were about 5,200 people in the venue for the festival, and officials estimate that about 1,000 of them remained in the PNE after the headliner’s cancellation, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the interior of the amphitheater and the surrounding area in Hastings Park. . .
“We understand that there was additional damage to property outside of Hastings Park, in the community and to local businesses. We deeply regret this for our neighbors,” the PNE said in a statement.
“This display of senseless violence and aggression has shocked our team.”
Vancouver police have confirmed they have arrested seven people in connection with the riots.
“Officers were already in the room, providing additional security when several hundred people started fighting and destroying property,” Const said. Tania Visintin in a press release Monday.
“Dozens of additional officers were transferred from other parts of the city to restore order, with some officers throwing bottles and other items at them.”
No injuries were reported.
In addition to sales kiosks and trash cans being knocked over, tables, tents and refrigerators were knocked over and thrown away, police said.
“We will conduct a full and thorough investigation into the actions of anyone who has destroyed property, endangered concertgoers or committed other criminal acts,” Visintin added. “While this investigation will take time, we will bring criminal charges against people who participated in this violence and destruction.”
The PNE said it would work with Breakout Festival’s promoter, Timbre Events and their insurance company to ensure the “complete and timely repair” of all damage, both on and off the property.
Several other last minute changes were made to the festival’s lineup. On September 13, organizers announced that Lil Uzi was no longer able to perform “due to unforeseen circumstances”. Then, on September 16, another social media post said that Polo G and Sofaygo would also not be performing.
Featuring files from CTV News Vancouver’s Alissa Thibault and St. John Alexander