Chaos broke out Sunday night at New York hip-hop station Hot 97’s annual Summer Jam concert as thousands of concertgoers were shut out of the event following a confrontation between gatecrashers, MetLife Stadium security and New Jersey police. At around 7 p.m. at the East Rutherford, New Jersey venue, a crowd of people “attempting to illegally enter” the concert climbed fences and tried to push their way through security. The main security gate was permanently closed at that point, preventing even those with tickets from entering the venue.
As the situation worsened, police in riot gear were called in to disperse the crowd, resulting in an altercation that spread into the MetLife parking lot. According to the Asbury Park Press, after the concertgoers began hurling bottles toward the assembling authorities, police fired multiple cans of tear gas into the crowd in an attempt to disperse the crowd of 1,000 people.
“Due to strong demand for tickets for Summer Jam 2015, the show sold out early this evening,” Hot 97 said in a statement. “When fans realized tickets were not available at the box office, a small number of people created an unsafe environment, and for the safety of all guests, the New Jersey State Police were on scene to disperse the crowd. The gates were closed at that time. No further entry was permitted into the event. For ticket holders whose tickets were not scanned, refunds will be offered at the point of purchase.”
The situation eventually settled down by 10 p.m. with several arrests made, but no reports of any injuries. However, concertgoers inside the venue were unaware of what was happening outside the MetLife Stadium, as the show continued on uninterrupted. The Summer Jam concert featured sets by Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, Fabolous and Trey Songz, among others.
“Jump the gate. Rush police. U trying to ruin Summer Jam?,” Hot 97 DJ Ebro tweeted after news of the riot spread on social media. “So you really think people want to allow a show of this magnitude to happen? Your behavior gonna ruin it…”
On his morning show Monday, Ebro added, “We feel disappointed. Tens of thousands of people inside were enjoying themselves, having the time of their lives, and a few crazies outside were creating chaos… We can’t allow the actions of a few idiots to ruin a celebration of something we love.”
Jerry Arnold, a concertgoer who did not get in after security shut down the entry gate, told CNN, “Security was being extremely slow, and people were waiting to be let in. I had a ticket. Everyone had a ticket, but security was being very slow and everyone got agitated.” Earlier this month, the Watertown Daily Times reported that the Summer Jam concert would be the first MetLife event to feature the employment of the stadium’s newly installed magnetometers, or walk-through metal detectors. It’s unclear whether those new devices contributed to the lag in security.
“This evening, security personnel at one of the entrance gates to MetLife Stadium were confronted by crowds attempting to illegally enter the sold out Summer Jam concert by climbing over fences and forcing their way through security personnel,” the New Jersey State Police said in a statement. “The gates have been shut and troopers on site have called for assistance from several nearby stations to help maintain order. Troopers and stadium security officials are insisting that all people outside of the gates depart the MetLife grounds to avoid congestion when the concert lets out. There is no number of arrests available at this time.”