Germany's Rock am Ring Festival Reopens One Day After Bomb Scare
Three suspects were arrested and later released.
German festival Rock am Ring reopened Saturday after a bomb scare Friday night (June 2) forced the evacuation of 80,000 attendees who had stayed to watch Rammstein's headlining set at the Nürburgring race track.
The event was halted Friday after an individual "of non-German origin" whom police believed to have potential ties to terrorism was found backstage with two other individuals. After questioning the three, police learned the individual's names did not match the names on their passes, Koblenz police chief Wolfgang Fromm told a news conference according to ABC News.
The three individuals were arrested and their apartments searched. All three were released but are still under investigation, according to Fromm.
"Rock am Ring 2017 will go on!" a statement on Rock am Ring's Facebook page reads. "After intensive searches and sweeps of the complete festival site by the police, the suspicion of a potential terrorist threat has not been confirmed. Set up for Day 2 of Rock am Ring has commenced and the program is going to be resumed in the early afternoon. The incredibly disciplined fans deserve all our respect and gratitude."
The scare came less than two weeks after a suicide bomber struck an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 individuals and injuring over 100 more. A benefit concert featuring Grande, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Coldplay and others is set to take place this Sunday (June 4).
"With regard to the latest attack on a concert in Manchester, the security concept for Rock am Ring was modified in advance and the number of operational forces increased significantly to around 1,200," Koblenz police said in a statement. "We take all references and all suspicious moments very seriously and follow them intensively. After a threat could not be ruled out, all necessary measures were taken immediately."
The high-profile evacuation was broadcast across social media with a number of Twitter users posting scenes from the festival as security personnel cleared the site.
"It was surreal. No panic anywhere," attendee and journalist Rick Fulker tells Billboard. "People seemed numb more than anything else. Many felt that aborting the festival must have been an overreaction to something. Others were like, 'We'll party anyway, later.'"
Rock am Ring is owned by Live Nation and created by German promoter Marek Lieberberg, whose company MLK was purchased by Live Nation in August 2015. Rock am Ring includes headliners Rammstein, Die Toten Hosen and System of a Down along with performers Bastille, Five Finger Death Punch, Liam Gallagher, Rag'n'Bone Man, Sum 41, Machine Gun Kelly, Prophets of Rage, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Pierce the Veil.
The initial cancellation Friday night came as a surprise to many, with Lieberberg taking to the stage and telling fans to evacuate.
"The festival director interrupted a song, appeared on the big screen and made the announcement," Fulker said. "I normally write about classical music but went to hear Rammstein. Unfortunately, their act was one of those canceled."