German rock festival resumes, terror threat cleared
Germany’s Rock am Ring festival will resume Saturday after thousands of fans were evacuated due to a terrorist threat, concert organizers said.
“After intensive searches and sweeps of the complete festival site by the police, the suspicion of a potential terrorist threat has not been confirmed,” the organizers said on social media.
The festival, in the central German town of Nuerburg, was scheduled to run Friday through Sunday at an auto racing track.
On Friday, police suspended the shows and ordered attendees to evacuate the festival’s site.
Organizers estimated 175,000 people at the event, which is considered one of the largest and most popular rock festivals in Europe.
“Because of the last attack on a concert in Manchester, the security concept for Rock am Ring was modified in advance and the number of security officers was significantly increased to around 1,200. … Since a threat could not be ruled out, all necessary measures were taken immediately,” Koblenz police said in a statement.
The May 22 bombing of an arena in Manchester, England, during an Ariana Grande concert left 22 people dead and 59 hurt.
Nathalie Muckhoff, 26, who was covering the festival for a local newspaper, told CNN the evacuation proceeded calmly.
“There was no fear or panic,” she said. “I could oversee the area in front of the main stage and the people left the festival ground very calmly.”
Video posted Friday showed concertgoers peacefully walking off the festival grounds while singing and chanting.
“Due to a terrorist threat the police have advised us to interrupt the festival,” organizers said in a statement. “We ask all festival visitors to leave. We have to support the police investigations. All visitors will be kept informed about any developments on all Rock am Ring social media channels, radio and the speakers.”
As the festival headliner’s, German band Rammstein was set to perform Friday night along with Bastille, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and Simple Plan. Die Toten Hosen was scheduled to play Saturday, System of a Down on Sunday.
Pierre Bouvier, singer of Simple Plan, shared on Instagram a message for the band’s fans.
“#RockamRing has just been evacuated due to a credible terrorist threat. … we are here and we are fine. Nothing has happened as of yet. What a world we live in… So sad. Thank you to all the fans who were there for our show. It was an awesome crowd as usual. Love you Germany,” he wrote.
The Australian band The Living End said it still planned to perform at the festival Sunday.
“Apologies to all our German friends that didn’t get to see us play but we know you’ll understand that it’s better to be safe than sorry!,” the band members wrote on Facebook.
Last year, the festival was canceled on its third and final day after at least 80 people were injured by lightning as thunderstorms rolled through the area.