Coventry Revisited? Radiohead Forced to Turn Fans Away in VA

I’m just catching wind of this now, but it appears that the Radiohead concert in Virginia didn’t go so well due to some serious storming the night of the show. The storms forced road closures, which forced many fans away from the concert, which forced many of these fans to take to the internet to complain about how upset they are. Billboard picked it up and is reporting that Live Nation is offering little help on the matter, instead referring fans directly to the Nissan Pavillion customer service inbox.

This is one of those serious bummers (for lack of a better word) associated with a concert marked “rain or shine,” especially at a mega venue like this. With so many people and so many unpredictable parking lots with conditions that don’t lend themselves well to keeping 30,000 fans safe, it’s understandable when a venue has to make tough decisions like turning the “late” fans away if they don’t get in within a reasonable amount of time before the show.

I bring this up, because it reminds me of the Coventry situation that surrounded Phish’s final concert and music festival. I remember listening to the radio update from the Phantasy Phish message board, and hearing Mike Gordon asking to have fans simply turn around because of muddy, unsafe conditions was just heartbreaking. But it was more heartbreaking to realize that some fans would have made tons of preparations and some fans did indeed listen to the advice that their beloved Cactus had given them.

But to be turned away by a faceless parking lot attendant is probably what is really driving these Radiohead fans nuts.

As live music fans, it’s easy for us to understand that “rain or shine” is exactly that, but I do believe we would have a hard understanding “rain or shine, except when it rains 4 inches the day of the show.” There are plenty of angles on this story worth arguing about, though, and I’m really curious on hearing from people that have been burned by something like this in the past. Has anyone ever been turned away like this? If so, how did you react? Were any reparations made by the promoter or venue?

Think about it, maybe while you’re downloading the show at Radiohead Not For Profit, then drop some comments letting us know what you think.

I'm the Editor. HOLLA.
  • sean c

    as for myself, very pissed. i traveled to be turned away.. with pit passes in my hand. all that live nation is giving back to me is lawn seats for NJ. at least it’s something… but how do i know it’s not going to storm then. ha

  • sean c

    as for myself, very pissed. i traveled to be turned away.. with pit passes in my hand. all that live nation is giving back to me is lawn seats for NJ. at least it’s something… but how do i know it’s not going to storm then. ha

  • http://www.livemusicblog.com Justin

    @sean – you seem to be at least “okay” with the decision…i, for one, would be fuming just from the pure anticipation of it all. to catch a band on the beginning of their tour isn’t always preferred but radiohead is a special band.

  • http://www.livemusicblog.com Justin

    @sean – you seem to be at least “okay” with the decision…i, for one, would be fuming just from the pure anticipation of it all. to catch a band on the beginning of their tour isn’t always preferred but radiohead is a special band.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dbrowell dbrowell

    The real tragedy? This happened at the exact same place about ten years ago to a slew of Radiohead fans that drove to the show from all points to find out it was cancelled from the previous night’s rain as they waited in traffic to get in.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dbrowell dbrowell

    The real tragedy? This happened at the exact same place about ten years ago to a slew of Radiohead fans that drove to the show from all points to find out it was cancelled from the previous night’s rain as they waited in traffic to get in.

  • sean c

    @justin – oh, i’m fuming alright. i’m just trying to take it the best way possible. 2008 hasn’t been a good year for me so far. i’ve already been screwed twice driving to columbus, oh for the mars volta which was postponed both times.

    i’m just gonna look at it the best way possible. get a lawn seat, and hopefully buy a better seat from someone when i get there

  • sean c

    @justin – oh, i’m fuming alright. i’m just trying to take it the best way possible. 2008 hasn’t been a good year for me so far. i’ve already been screwed twice driving to columbus, oh for the mars volta which was postponed both times.

    i’m just gonna look at it the best way possible. get a lawn seat, and hopefully buy a better seat from someone when i get there

  • Matt

    I was at the Radiohead show that got rained out just after Amnesiac. It was pretty lame, but I remember the experience of thousands of people all drenched in a parking lot we couldn’t get out of, in mud and water up to our knees, was actually kind of cool in a Woodstock ’94 kind of way.

    Got pit tickets for their “Hail to the Theif” tour. Good show, disappointed there wasn’t any Kid A on the set list. Being trapped in ungodly rain and mud with thousands of like-minded fans definitely provides a greater sense of community than being trapped circling in a motor-vehicle for hours with some glimmer of radiohead hope though.

  • Matt

    I was at the Radiohead show that got rained out just after Amnesiac. It was pretty lame, but I remember the experience of thousands of people all drenched in a parking lot we couldn’t get out of, in mud and water up to our knees, was actually kind of cool in a Woodstock ’94 kind of way.

    Got pit tickets for their “Hail to the Theif” tour. Good show, disappointed there wasn’t any Kid A on the set list. Being trapped in ungodly rain and mud with thousands of like-minded fans definitely provides a greater sense of community than being trapped circling in a motor-vehicle for hours with some glimmer of radiohead hope though.

  • jeremy

    Radiohead sucks. Plenty of much better bands out there to catch at shows. First of all I cant stand the damn shed shows. They may have been playing for free but with 8 dollar beers, it will still break your bank. But that said, sucks for the fans who couldnt make it in and sucks even more that nobody cares they couldnt make it in. I guess radiohead doesnt care because they gave you there album for free. Go support the bands playing at your local bars that rely on your cash to eat and make it to the next show. Dont waste your time seeing bands like these guys or DMB that could care less about the fans because they are already rich. Just my opinion, and im not very smart.

  • jeremy

    Radiohead sucks. Plenty of much better bands out there to catch at shows. First of all I cant stand the damn shed shows. They may have been playing for free but with 8 dollar beers, it will still break your bank. But that said, sucks for the fans who couldnt make it in and sucks even more that nobody cares they couldnt make it in. I guess radiohead doesnt care because they gave you there album for free. Go support the bands playing at your local bars that rely on your cash to eat and make it to the next show. Dont waste your time seeing bands like these guys or DMB that could care less about the fans because they are already rich. Just my opinion, and im not very smart.

  • http://musicandartsblog.com alex

    this is where scalpers have people eating out of the palm of their hand, radio head is a great band, I prefer them without the whiny vocals though and purely instrumental stuff, though some of it is ok, haunting.

    I second Jeremy though on many things

  • http://musicandartsblog.com alex

    this is where scalpers have people eating out of the palm of their hand, radio head is a great band, I prefer them without the whiny vocals though and purely instrumental stuff, though some of it is ok, haunting.

    I second Jeremy though on many things

  • Julia

    I think Radiohead is an amazing band and I was so upset when the show was canceled. They need to do something better than just compensate with lawn seats. If you are looking for a band that is similar to Radiohead and doesn’t get rained out you should check out the confusions. Thier site is http://www.theconfusions.com Enjoy!

  • Julia

    I think Radiohead is an amazing band and I was so upset when the show was canceled. They need to do something better than just compensate with lawn seats. If you are looking for a band that is similar to Radiohead and doesn’t get rained out you should check out the confusions. Thier site is http://www.theconfusions.com Enjoy!