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.