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'Let's riot': Vancouver concert-goers break out into violence after headliner cancels

Chaos, violence at PNE

The Breakout Festival at the PNE ended in chaos Sunday night after headliner Lil Baby was deemed too ill to perform.

"Lil Baby arrived to Breakout Festival and was unfortunately too sick to perform," announced festival organizers online at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18.

The crowd erupted in violence when word came Lil Baby would not take the stage. In videos from the scene shared on social media people could be heard shouting things like "F*ck Breakout," "we were ripped off," and "let's riot."

Vancouver police, who already were at the festival for security, had to call in reinforcements, with dozens more officers arriving from the VPD and Metro Vancouver Transit Police. Police say "several hundred people began fighting and destroying property in the amphitheatre on the PNE grounds, and in the surrounding neighbourhood."

"Fights broke out inside and outside the venue, and significant property damage occurred when destructive concert-goers became hostile following an announcement that a headlining act would not be taking the stage," states the VPD in a press release.

Officers had items, including bottles, thrown at them, according to the police, as the chaos spilled out into the neighbourhood.

"Though no major injuries have been reported, there is likely thousands of dollars in property damage. Garbage bins and food vendor kiosks were overturned and damaged during the chaos. Tables, refrigerators, and tents were knocked down and thrown. Several people climbed various fixtures including a tall lamp post," note police.

During the chaos, seven people were arrested, though an ongoing investigation is expected to take several months.

"Though this investigation will take time, we will pursue criminal charges against people who participated in this violence and destruction,” says VPD Const. Tania Visintin in the release.

In a statement released Monday morning, Sept. 19, the PNE thanked the police and apologized to the neighbours, who had taken to social media after the first night of the festival, upset about how loud it was.

"The PNE is incredibly sorry for the actions of those guests and [the] impact this behaviour may have had on our community," reads the PNE statement. "We will be undertaking a full investigation and will be making further statements shortly."

Breakout Festival organizers apologized for the incident in a statement.

"Last night's end to the 2022 Breakout Festival resulted in the worst case scenario of disappointment due to Sunday's final performer cancelling and we want to apologize to everyone who peacefully left the venue," reads the statement, which also offered an apology to the venue staff and neighbourhood for how things ended.

"We do not condone violence or destruction of property and are utterly disappointed with the way some of our patrons acted at this year's event," they add.

They note partial refund information is coming. Lil Baby wasn't the only headliner unable to perform; Lil Uzi Vert also cancelled shortly before the festival began for undeclared reasons.

Vancouver Is Awesome has reached out to the festival organizers for more information and will update this story when more information is made available.

Warning: Videos contain strong language.

@kirkmandoo Riot at the Breakout Festival because Lil Baby didn’t perform ? #riot #breakoutfestival #fyp ? original sound - Kirk Jakesta


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