Lately it seems that wherever the Dave Matthews Band plays, a riot
breaks out. First it was Woodstock, now Hartford’s Meadows Music
Theater.| This past weekend, during the last two shows of the
band’s U.S. tour, riots erupted in the parking lot at the
Connecticut amphitheater, where the band was playing a three-night
The trouble began on Saturday night at around 9:30 EST, just as
the band’s set was getting under way. According to Sergeant Neil
Dryfe, public information officer for the Hartford Police
Department, nearly 1,000 non-ticketholders had gathered in one of
the dozen parking lots servicing the arena. Members of the
intoxicated, rowdy mob began fighting, cars were broken into and,
ultimately, one car was set on fire. Dryfe says that in addition to
heavy beer and liquor consumption, many in the crowd were inhaling
nitrous oxide and smoking pot. As police tried to quell the
situation, they were pelted with bottles and rocks, as were
firefighters attempting to bring the car-fire under control. After
making about fifteen arrests, police were able to calm things down
by around 1:00 a.m.
To avoid a repeat incident the next night, the Hartford Police
Department assembled its disorder control team, which was intended
to drive crowds out of the parking area before trouble could start.
As the police formed a skirmish line to remove those not holding
tickets, the crowd again barraged officers with empty beer bottles,
rocks and debris. Police responded by firing rubber bullets,
bean-bag projectiles and pepper-spray at the crowd. The whole thing
was eventually brought under control at around 2:00 a.m., by which
point an additional forty arrests had been made.
No serious injuries were incurred during the two days’ riots, but
area hospitals did treat a number of lacerations and bruises. A
spokesperson for Hartford Hospital said that their emergency room
had seen a total of thirty concert-related injuries over the course
of the weekend, including a stabbing and numerous trample-related
injuries. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for St. Francis Hospital
estimated they had seen “a couple dozen” cases of alcohol
intoxication and “ten to fifteen” minor cuts and scrapes.
“[It was] just a bunch of intoxicated people with no place to go
and they just started to raise hell,” said Field Sergeant Dan
Albert, who had been on duty both Saturday and Sunday. “It was just
general hooliganism and drunkeness.”
At press time, Matthews had issued no statement on the matter.