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Far Pavilion Roils Radiohead Fans

The anguished cries of Radiohead fans bounced around the Internet yesterday as many bemoaned the difficulties of reaching and leaving remote Nissan Pavilion in Bristow for the band's Sunday night concert.

The severe rainstorm had a lot to do with it, but Mother Nature did not place an ampitheater for 25,000 people in the outer suburbs of Washington where the road network was inadequate and public transportation non-existent.

Here's how one concert-goer described the Sunday night scene to Post reporters Lena Sun and Eric Weiss during their online discussion Monday:

Fairfax, Va.: Wow, I will NEVER complain about Metro after an event again, compared to my Nissan Pavilion experience last night. We were in our car at 11 p.m. and did not get on the interstate until 1 a.m. It seemed like they routed everyone in circles getting out of there. Now I was planning for at least an hour to get to the interstate based on my experience last summer. But last night was disaster. Who on earth designed the traffic flows around there.

Buzz abounded on DCist, as well, where fans described their soggy, sorry journeys in excruciating detail, with some saying they never made it in.

When the pavilion was planned, back in the '90s, many people saw this coming. Unfortunately, not enough of them were in Prince William County government.

Post reporter Stephen C. Fehr quoted one pavilion critic in a story that ran on the April 16, 1995, front page under the headline "Traffic Jams Predicted at New Arena":

"This is the way local governments get into long-term transportation problems," [land use consultant Edward M.] Risse said. "They create land uses that are major generators of traffic and then spend 20 years trying to accommodate that demand."

By Robert Thomson  |  May 13, 2008; 6:31 AM ET
Categories:  Events  
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Comments

Maybe Radiohead fans need to get off the illegal drugs and check the internet for the weather forecast before heading out and do something called planning ahead. What a whining bunch of cry babies! The Prince William and Fairfax counties do not revolve around their needs to get home in time to watch reruns of the Daily Show. Anyone who was not too wrapped up in their own little lives knew about the weather forecast and resulting problems. Radiohead fans where is Nissan Pavillon? The roads there suck. If it was a Buffett concert they just would have remained in the parking lot until yesterday afternoon and continued the party. Life sucks when you wrapped up in your own self importance. The location for Nissan was a dumb decision but hey Gridlock where else could you put it? I know all the backroads and alternate routes out of Nissan. Balls Fords flooded etc.

Funding needs to be stripped from Metro and put into the roads . Once the roads are fixed we dedicate funding to mass transit.

Radiohead fans grow up!

Posted by: Buffett fan | May 13, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Re: Buffet fan. Wow, just wow. I'll leave it at that. Where does vitriol like that come from?

Sure, Nissan Pavilion was terribly sited, but let's think about what can be done to fix it now, other than rebuilding it somewhere else. Express bus service for events seems like the only possible solution, since Metro and VRE are too far away for any impact. Has there been any talk of creating these special event bus routes?

Posted by: Jack | May 13, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

There's a pretty simple solution - stop going to Nissan until they do something about the entrance and exit from the facility. I haven't been back since a horrible experience 6 years ago and won't ever set foot in the place again.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | May 13, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Arlington, VA. I don't spend my money there anymore.

Posted by: Lindemann | May 13, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I only go to Nissan for bands that draw smaller crowds (most recent two visits: Paul Simon and Boston). It's not worth the trouble of sitting all night for a full house.

Posted by: Rich | May 13, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

After a bad experience at Nissan about 7 years ago (I don't even remember what concert I went to - but I do remember being stuck in the parking lot for 2 hours afterwards, nearly running out of gas), I swore off going there and I've stuck to it, despite my desire to see some bands that were there.

This is as typical DC as it gets - build things and then claim you want to retain the "rural character" by leaving the infrastructure as it was, saying "only a few more won't impact anything". Well, the politicians and planners should be ashamed of themselves for having no vision or foresight. PW is not the only guilty party - Fairfax, Loudoun, PG, and none other than high-on-their-horse Montgomery County who is the worst (Potomac farms? Right, growing McMansions).

Posted by: SS | May 13, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Hey Buffet Fan,

Why don't you wake up and smell the coffee. Prince William County is more interested in fighting illegal immigration than invest in roads. A round of applause for the good folks who keep an optimistic outlook despite the recession, real estate foreclosure and general mayhem going on in the world. Maybe if you emerged from your margarita haze, you will realize that not everyone has the luxury to take multiple days off to enjoy "light" music =P!

Posted by: Dead Parrots | May 13, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

VRE stop is less than 10 miles from Nissan. Last stop on the line. And if the expansion of the VRE actually happens a lot closer than that.

Radiohead fans need to stop whining like a drag queen who just ripped his $30 pantyhose.

More folks show up for Buffet and we have in all kinds of weather and we dont whine.
Or figure we are owed an easy commute home.
Grow up.

Posted by: Buffett Fan | May 13, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Dead parrots

When Radiohead has been around as long as Jimmy come talk to me little girl!

And Jimmy has been interested in the environment from about the time the members of Radiohead were playing scratch and sniff with their diapers. And has down a lot more for the environment than Radiohead by a long shot.

Light music not!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I went to one show at Nissan several years ago and decided I was done with it. And that was a day with fine weather. After the experience people had Sunday - a friend of mine spent eight hours in a car and wasn't allowed in the parking lot - I'm DEFinitely never going again. Buffett Fan, I think even you might be annoyed if you sat in traffic for eight hours and never saw the show.

Posted by: h3 | May 13, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

My g/f spent over $200 for our tix (my birthday present) so we could sit in traffic circling the pavillion for hours on end, only to be turned away when we got there... It is the usual heartlessness/gross generalizations of jerks like Buffet Fan that get me upset and wanting to post(btw, I am an 8 year vet of the Army and dont do drugs) but today it is the gross negligence of Nissan Pavilion that really deserves the spotlight. The mere fact that were flood warnings in effect (posted during the beginning of the show) and management did not cancel the show and send everyone home in the general interest of safety is just another testament to the usual white collared greed you find so prevasive in NoVa. I feel terrible for everyone sitting in their cars circling the show like my girlfriend and I, but I feel even worse now knowing a lousy corporation is willing to risk the safety of its patrons, its employees, and the PWPD just so they dont have to reschedule a show.

Posted by: Dave From Arlington | May 13, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

A big round of applause for the sense of environmental responsbility of the Buffets fans. Please keep in mind that Radiohead fans will probably be paying for the Social Security of Buffet fans. Since the Buffet people are so influential environmentally, could they mobilize to challenge the auto and oil producers :)?

Posted by: Dead Parrots | May 13, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Buffett fan. If these pansy Radiohead fans drove something besides hybrids or Smart Cars they could have made their own roads out of there. My 4x4 with BFG Mud Terrains would have just powered through the mud and muck etc and we would have been home to Upperville in 30 minutes or less. Even an Escalade could have powered its way out of there in 20 minutes.
Damn city dwellers.

Why should we make life easy for a bunch of punks who come out this way maybe once or twice a year.

Anyone who has ever been to Buffett show at Nissan knows even in great weather it can take hours to get out of the parking lot. For some folks it can take days.

Go tell it to Obama maybe he cares!

Posted by: Country Music Rules | May 13, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey Country Music Rules,

Do you know who Hank III is? That is real country music and he plays in cities =P!

Posted by: Pop Country Sucks | May 13, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I live in Manassas and in spite of it being geographically convenient I won't see a show there any longer. I spent over an hour without moving in Nissan's parking lot one night following a concert. The lack of roads to funnel everyone out is one of the problems, but the other is no knowledgeable staff in the lot to direct traffic. There is usually about 25 "lanes" trying to merge into one with random teenagers/twentysomethings standing there with vests and flashlights watching the whole circus. It's a nightmare!

Posted by: Manassas, VA | May 13, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Hear, hear! Pop Country Sucks! Hank III rules!

...and my solution to Nissan traffic is simple, I have a couple folding chairs, a small grill, and a cooler with some water and food. I always just hang out in the lot and relax until traffic clears and PWPD tells me to leave. Saves the frustration and gets me some (relatively) fresh air.

Posted by: Pompous Magnus | May 13, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Buffett fan, yikes. If you're going to be a troll, at least have better taste in msuic. I guess if you weren't there, you just aren't going to get it.

I was at the show, so here are the reasons people are so upset:

1. Radiohead has promoted this tour as "green"...but the venue was miles from nowhere, has ALWAYS had a reputation for horrendous traffic, and is nowhere near transit. Even without the weather, thousands of cars were going to idle for hours on end. Pretty hypocritical, if you ask me. I've lost a lot of respect for this band.

2. It wasn't just a little bit of bad weather or a steady rain. It was raining sideways, water was rushing all over the place, roads were flooded out, winds were high and temperatures were dropping rapidly. I am surprised people were not hospitalized for exposure.

I was in the middle of the pavilion, had on full gear (and when I say full gear, I was outfitted for an Arctic exploration/monsoon) and still got soaked and frozen. I did see a few people in inappropriate clothes, but by and large people were bundled up and wearing rain gear.

3. Conditions were far too hazardous to hold an outdoor concert. People should have been in their homes, not on the slippery roads full of black water, and definitely not in the flooded Pavilion. Nobody is accusing Live Nation of controlling the weather, they aren't responsible for the storm itself. They are, however, responsible for recklessly endangering the health and safety of concertgoers by not cancelling the show and refunding people's money. If people pay through the nose in lean times for their tickets, and they know they won't get their money back, they're going to go to the show regardless of the weather.

There is no way this show should have gone on...and it did. And somebody needs to tell us why. (My suspicion is that the Live Nation answer will be, "Screw you, concertgoing public, we have your money and you'll never get it back.")

4. The pavilion was half full. The lawn was almost empty. When it became apparent that guests were being turned away at the gate due to flooding, they should have started letting lawn people into the pavilion.

5. Nobody is entitled to an "easy commute", however, nobody deserves to spend two hours plus just to get out of the parking lot, then be routed all over hell and creation before they could get back on the freeway. People were already tired from being out in the elements, driving conditions were hazardous and bad weather plus tired people is a recipe for accidents.

6. Some people never even got into the show, instead, they circled the venue for hours with zero information, only to get turned away at the gate. Would it have been so hard to get a guy with a bullhorn? Or go car-to-car telling people what was happening? And still no word from Live Nation as to whether they'll get their money back. (My bet? Live Nation is going to keep the money and claim they don't control the weather. See #3 for why that excuse doesn't, ahem, hold water.)

Posted by: Shannon | May 13, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Seriously, so you don't like radiohead, who cares. That's not the issue. The situation was a complete disaster - not made by the people trying to get there. Putting Nissan in that location was a terrible decision. Thinking things might be a bit better on a Sunday, I decided to give Nissan one last shot. Never again. If Jimi Hendrix came back from the dead and I had front row seats, I still wouldn't go. Not that anyone at Nissan or Live Nation cares.

Posted by: rs | May 13, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Wow. . . i seriously can't believe that 'buffet fan' could say those things. . .as one of the thousands who NEVER EVEN GOT INTO THE VENUE, DESPITE ARRIVING AT 7PM, i think that i'm entitled to be seriously angry. hundreds of dollars later (tix, gas, babysitter) and a wasted 7 hours (yes, 7 hours roundtrip - from dc to nissan and back!) of my life, i think that i deserve some answers, and a refund.

and yes, i will never, EVER, *try* to go to nissan pavilion again.

Posted by: Disappointed on mothers day | May 13, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Buffet fan - How would you feel if you were denied entrance to your concert? That's what happened to hundreds of us on 5/11. And for what reason - that Nissan's lot had problems. I have heard of planning ahead and did so based on my past trip to Nissan. I am guessing that Nissan has not, however, because they proceeded with a concert knowing there were widespread flood warnings prior to the start of the concert. When you know your venue has shortcomings and you proceed with your event anyway, you're asking for this kind of feedback. As far as partying in the lot after the show, it would've been great to see you in 45 degree monsoon rain, knee deep in mud trying to tailgate. Cheeseburger in Paradise I guess.

Posted by: Joe | May 13, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Wow the hate between Buffet and Radiohead here is really comical. Did somebody steal Buffet fans oat bran muffin? Nissan is a disaster to attend regardless of they type of car you own or the weather. I won't go back there for anything.

Posted by: DMB | May 13, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Umm, Buffet Fan, you do realize that Parrotheads are infamous for being really drunk and stoned, right? Just checking....Also, VRE won't do anything for a show out there since they 1) Shut down before the end of any show. 2) Only run outbound in the evening and 3) Don't even run on weekends.

Sounds like most of the issues had to do with the rain. I've been to a good number of shows at Nissan since 2004 and traffic has gotten a lot better sicne they redid the roads around the new shopping center, finished some of the work on I66 and got the Loudon County Parkways almost done, but it's always a mess since there's only one 2 lane road into the building. That road needs to be 4 lanes its whole length and that needs to be done soon. LiveNation should relly be required to kick in half the coast of that.

Posted by: EricS | May 13, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

To Buffet Fan and the rest of the Haters:

At the risk of feeding your ego(s) with a response, it needs to be said that your remarks are truly ignorant and repulsive. This has NOTHING to do with the band or people who listen to them.

Nissan Pavillion is infamous for thier logistical neglect. In every way. It's not limited to parking (though that's tops for sure). Their staff are notoriously ignorant and short tempered -- folks were being told the show was "canceled" when they got to the gates. Others somehow were still being admitted after the show had ended!

Live Nation and Ticketmaster consipire to put on shows that draw huge crowds to Nissan. Do people really think that Radiohead actually plans the logistics of their tours? In places they've never been? They do their best, and I'll bet they never play Nissan again.

On the best day, with perfect weather, Nissan is still a GUARANTEED NIGHTMARE.

People complaning about a valid problem is just, and needed to make a positive change. If anything comes of this it'll be a good thing.

But your complaining about people complaining is just short of insane (let alone an oddly redundant waste of time and energy).

Posted by: YKMB | May 13, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I attended the Radiohead show on Sunday as well. The original plan was to tailgate before (and after) the show to avoid some of the traffic. That got busted with the rain however. So we set out at 4:45 from Rockville to get to Nissan. Usual traffic on 66, it was relatively smooth sailing from 66 into Nissan. Arrived at 6:15. (Doors were suppose to open at 6:30 so we didn't want to just sit in the car much longer than that).

We were hoping the rain might keep some people away and lessen the traffic leaving, but that definately wasn't the case. Got to the car at 11:30. Did not move from our space until 12:15. Finally got out of the parking lot at 12:55. Got home at 2am.

Now we went fully expecting it to take awhile to get to the venue, and a long time to get out (we were thinking an hour). Parking at Nissan seems to be much better handled than the mass exodus at the end of the night. When parking, there is much more structure and people directing traffic. Upon leaving, I saw 2 people directing traffic, at a point where it's pretty damn obvious where you are going to go. I think increasing the number of exits out of the parking lot would help with this. Yes, you will still get backed up on the two lane road, but atleast that is structured once you reach it. The free for all at the end of the night is rediculous.


Posted by: Laura | May 13, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"More folks show up for Buffet and we have in all kinds of weather and we dont whine."

Radiohead was sold out. Same number of people. Buffet is in late august. Even if it is raining (heck even if it is monsooning) it is not 45 degree weather. It's 80-90 degree weather. Not bad to get wet in.

The drainage at Nissan was rediculous. There was literally a lake of water between the pavilion and the bathrooms (where all the concession stands are). People didn't want to wade through the shin high water though, making it even harder to reach the car. The parking lot probably had better drainage and wasn't bad to drive in (once you were able to move anywhere).

"My 4x4 with BFG Mud Terrains would have just powered through the mud and muck etc and we would have been home to Upperville in 30 minutes"

It's not the mud that was holding people up getting out of the parking lot. It's the way the traffic was/is handled. Unless you are planning to demolition truck it and drive over all the cars in front of you. Something tells me even a red neck like you though probably doesn't have a truck that can do that.

Posted by: Laura | May 13, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Amen. Enjoy your cheesburger in hell, loosers.

Posted by: YKMB | May 13, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It's silly for this to turn into a debate about taste, what artists are better, etc. Everyone has different taste, music is subjective. I, personally, am a huge fan of Radiohead, I happen to think they will go down in history as one of the most important forces in pop music of our time and was really excited about the concert.

However, if you weren't there on Sunday night, you cannot judge. A lot of people have posted on different boards, suggesting that the problem was not leaving early enough, etc. Many people left quite early, including myself, and never saw the show. Anyone would be upset about being denied adequate parking and entry after having paid what is for some people a lot of money for it. If you weren't there, you just don't know. This was like nothing I've ever seen before, and I've been to a lot of concerts (including others at Nissan) in lots of different weather conditions.

Posted by: Ryan Beanstalk | May 13, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

My sympathy for people who had a hard time getting out of the show is lessened somewhat by the fact that I spent four hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic and was turned away at 10:30. At least you saw the show. I never even saw the entrance.

This was my first and last attempt at seeing a show at Nissan Pavilion. I will never go there, no matter who is playing. I will make sure to discourage everyone I know from ever going there.

Shame on "green" Radiohead for booking a show there in the first place.

Posted by: Rocket88 | May 13, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I ask you- would a prudent reasonable venue, one that is not completly blinded by its money driven interests, continue to have a show under such conditions? Regardless of the band and the type of music, which is irrelevant, the weather conditions last Sunday were plain dangerous. A duty of care IS owed to customers. If the venue does not cancel a show it is because it assures its customers reasonable safety conditions and the ability to assist. Nissan Pavilion and Live Nation were negligent, they violated their duty of care to us and that is unacceptable.

Posted by: Stan Sawyer | May 13, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with Stan Sawyer. Nissan Pavilion and Live Nation were irresponsible. I have never experienced such a lack of organization and lack of care for customers. Regardless of the band and/or type of music, we should all unite since we all deserve adequate venues to listen to whatever it is we want to listen to- and later exercise our freedom of speech against each other.

I paid to go to a concert on Sunday at Nissan Pavilion that was NOT CANCELLED; hence, I have a right to get in and enjoy it within reasonable safety conditions.

Never again will I step foot there. I'm not paying money to a company that has proven to me how much it cares about my safety and well-being.

Posted by: Mike M | May 13, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

An adjective has come to mind to describe Live Nation/Nissan Pavilion, they... SUCK!!!!

Posted by: Nancy Drew | May 13, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't know anything about Radiohead or their music other than they appeared in the "Scott Tenorman Must Die" episode of South Park, but for those of you who had tickets and couldn't get in, apparently the promoter will give you tickets to their show in New Jersey this summer. This information can be found elsewhere on washingtonpost.com:

"If you didn't it make it into the venue, contact Live Nation immediately at customerservice@nissanpavilion.com.

"You'll get this response:

"Thank you for contacting Nissan Pavilion regarding your experience on Sunday night. Due to the torrential rain storm, multiple road closures and a late-arriving crowd led to delays for some music fans entering the parking lot at Nissan Pavilion. While we have no control over Mother Nature, we certainly are disappointed that some fans did not make it to the venue.

"As a consolation, we would like to offer you complementary lawn tickets to Radiohead's performance at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ on August 12th. We apologize for any inconvenience you experienced Sunday night and hope that this free ticket offer helps to make up for it."

Nissan is notorious for traffic issues, so my initial inclination in reading the further comments in this thread was a lack of sympathy, but it sounds as if Sunday night was more messed up than usual. The problems exiting that venue seem to get worse, not better, and the lack of people directing the traffic exacerbates it. Having multiple lanes merging into one at a single spot is NEVER a good idea, especially given that DC-area drivers generally don't have a clue about how to merge in the first place.

Posted by: Rich | May 13, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Agree with Stan & Mike, Nissan & Live were negligent and no fan of any band deserves to be treated like that. I had familiy members who went through a very hard time last Sunday getting in and out of the place. They even mentioned a couple of ugly accidents and people stranded in the rain. We should all do something to prevent situations and attitudes like this one.

BUFFET ROCKS!!!!!!

Posted by: Tarzan Buffet | May 13, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Rich- are they paying transportation costs to and from Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ? Sounds like its in the middle of nowhere... hmmmmm... kindda like Nissan Pavilion...

Posted by: Bambam Tantan | May 13, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Due to the torrential rain storm, multiple road closures and a late-arriving crowd led to delays for some music fans entering the parking lot at Nissan Pavilion."

Late-arriving crowd? People got to Bristow in plenty of time, they just couldn't get into the venue. Which is Nissan's fault for having traffic controlled by surly teenagers who have no way of communicating with one another.

Posted by: Shannon | May 13, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Shannon you are right. The writer of this article has no clue as to the magnitude of what he/she is writing about. I bet he/she wasn't even there, which reflects poorly on the Washington Post considering the popularity of the story. I got to NP @ 7pm and left @ 11pm since I couldn't get in, I recorded driving a mile in 1.5 hours. It was ridiculous.

Posted by: Fo Fierce is My Pet | May 13, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

My Mama said never go to concerts at venues named after Japanese cars in places you don't even know that exist. Should have listened to Mama.

Posted by: My Mama Said | May 13, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Rich- are they paying transportation costs to and from Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ? Sounds like its in the middle of nowhere... hmmmmm... kindda like Nissan Pavilion..."

All I know is what I posted.

The venue in Camden isn't in the middle of nowhere, though--it's right on the Delaware River. I went to a Who concert there once and stayed in Philadelphia. Rode the subway down to Penn's Landing, took the ferry across to Camden, and walked to the concert (and it rained on the way...) Much easier to get to than Nissan. While you have that little issue of the trip up to Philadelphia, who knows, it might be a shorter trip than getting to Nissan!

Posted by: Rich | May 13, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I had a similar experience as Laura. We made it before Radiohead went on so we were one of the "lucky ones" I guess. (We left in plenty of time to be there early.)
We made it to our car by 11:30 but didn't move from our parking spot until 1:45am! Fortunately, we only live 25 miles from the venue so were home by 2:30-3. Unfortunately, our out-of-town guests had early Monday flights from Baltimore! Agree with all the others that the whole situation was handled irresponsibly and that the show (even a "rain or shine") should have been postponed out of safety concerns.

Posted by: RB | May 13, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

If Sunday's concert was supposed to be at a "green" venue HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! What fools Radiohead are. More gas was burned unecessarily than at the Indianapolis 500. What a disaster.

Posted by: ChiCha | May 13, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Please let us not forget the valiant efforts of the Prince William County Police force. What a bunch of morons. They were mnaking us go in circles and provided 0 information. In my humble opinion, they should be held liable too.

Posted by: Kevin D | May 13, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I guess I was one of the lucky ones too. I left from Damascus, MD at about 5:30pm, but went across Whites Ferry in Poolesville and down Rt 15 to Rt 29 and didn't hit any traffic. We parked at 7:30 and got soaked on the way in. The show itself was amazing but waiting 2+ hours just to get out of the parking lot was maddening. I have seen many shows there since it opened and expected some delays getting out, but this was like nothing I have ever seen.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm having a hard time with sympathy for anyone blaming the facility for what was, in the end, their own ultimate responsibility to make an intelligent decision about whether or not to go to the concert given its history and the weather. In this sue-happy nation, always looking to pass the buck for what amounts to personal responsibility and acceptance of risk, I'm not surprised people think that liability for their safety lies with the venue. Had I had tickets, I'd have made the prudent decision not to go and would have been on the horn with the promoter/venue/ticketmaster/whomever to get a refund or exchange secured in light of the circumstances. I might also have called NP to verify what my gut would have already known. But more importantly, I would not be screaming for someone else to take responsibility for my decision to venture out in "monsoon" weather and drive around like Pavlov's dog thinking one more lap might get me a reward.

Posted by: Blame WHOM? | May 13, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

so much for those friendly, easy-going buffet fans.

if you weren't there sunday night, you have no rights to judge. the facts are that two road were flooded (29 thru the nat'l park and somewhere else between exit 44 and wellington road). the flooding near exit 44 happened BEFORE the show, so there was essentialy ONE and only ONE entrance to a venue that is already woefully inadequate.

i've attended 5 shows at nissan and knew what to expect. i gave myself 4 hours to make a trip that i can make in 1.5 hours during "normal" traffic. i even avoided 66 completely. it took me 2 hours to travel the first 80 miles in a torrential downpour. and another 2 hours to travel the last 2 miles. luckily i made it in time to see a great show.

however, i would have completely understood if the promoters had done the right thing and cancelled the show. the fact is that there was only one exit from the venue. what would they have done in an emergency? as it was, they had to stop cars for leaving the venue at one point and allow the road to clear enough to allow an ambulance to get in for an emergency call.

i will say this: i agree that people who missed the show really have no one to blamce but themselves. anyone who realistically thought they could leave d.c. after 6:00 and get into that venue, during that storm, must have been hitting the pipe a bit early.

still doesn't excuse greedy promoters and incompetent city planners.

Posted by: happyjack | May 13, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse


I was part of a group of 5 people who couldn't get into the show because of the flooding, the horrible detour, and the LiveNation staff, who blatantly lied to us. We finally made it to the parking lot after 5 hours of driving (from Fulton, Maryland) and then people in LiveNation shirts started turning people away, saying, "there's only one song left, go home." We could clearly hear that there were more songs left and I heard planet telex and fake plastic trees when I got out of the car and waded through the water to use the bathroom. We were all furious, some of us having come from Jersey and even Michigan. We ended up driving back to the venue yesterday and we demanded to speak to a manager about refunds and about how we were treated. He was a nice guy (anyone else in the area with the same experience should try talking to them in person, maybe we can make something happen) but he gave some answer like "we're working things out with the band now." He took our tickets, said that it was just a bad combination of the weather and people leaving late which started the problems, and he took our phone numbers down. I have no idea about what will come of this, but I am going to try to talk to him again to see if maybe they can help finance tickets for a later show, like Camden NJ in August. Ugh. And to top it off, May 11th was my 20th birthday.

Posted by: JPcgate314 | May 13, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Blame Whom?, you're missing the point and being more than a little naive. The show was billed as "rain or shine" meaning, if the weather's bad, and the show goes on, your money's just gone down the toilet. No refunds, no matter who you get "on the horn" to. Get real, that's just not how concert promoters function.

And it was a LOT of money. Tickets, largely due to the Ticketmonster monopoly, were very expensive (even cheapo lawn seats came out to $50+). That's a lot of money to a lot of people, so if they can't get a refund they're going to suck it up and go to the show.

The fans did our part: we were told the show was going on "rain or shine" so we put on our raingear and showed up. Nissan not only failed to keep up their end of the bargain, they failed to even recognize that there WAS a bargain.

A mess all around, and blame belongs squarely in the laps of Live Nation, plus Radiohead and their management.

Posted by: Shannon | May 13, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Great News- there is an online petition circulating in response to the situation at the May 11th concert- the petition is to bring Radiohead back to play at the Verizon Center in DC! the address is http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/DC_Radiohead/index.html SPREAD THE WORD

Posted by: JPcgate314 | May 14, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

I gave Nissan one shot - had free tickets under the roof for Dave Mathews. The band was great, but NEVER AGAIN. They'd have to pay me to go there and it wouldn't be cheap. It took me two hours to get out of the parking lot.

Posted by: Scott | May 14, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"Rich- are they paying transportation costs to and from Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ? Sounds like its in the middle of nowhere... hmmmmm... kindda like Nissan Pavilion..."

Oh boy... Um, Camden isn't what we'd call "middle of nowhere," it's what we'd call "middle of some place I don't ever want to be caught in after dark." Every big city has it's b@st@rd stepchild neighborhood; Camden is Philly's, just like East St. Louis is St. Louis's and East L.A. is L.A.'s, Arlington is DC's (kidding)...

Anyway... Hooray Merriweather Post Pavilion! Your concert venue may be old, but at least it doesn't suck!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"Um, Camden isn't what we'd call 'middle of nowhere,' it's what we'd call 'middle of some place I don't ever want to be caught in after dark.'"

All generally true, although the amphitheatre in question is safe enough due to the large numbers of people going to shows. I wouldn't park my car in Camden (and as I noted before I did not), but the large number of people using the ferry to Philadelphia ensures that you won't have any problems if you leave reasonably promptly after the show. The walk to the ferry is on a lighted sidewalk along the river and the queues form along that sidewalk.

If you go the other direction into Camden, you do so at your own risk....

Posted by: Rich | May 14, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"Rich- are they paying transportation costs to and from Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ? Sounds like its in the middle of nowhere... hmmmmm... kindda like Nissan Pavilion..."

I would like to add a little extra insight to the Camden alternative that has been mentioned-

Nissan Pavilion is the equivalent of what Dante refered to as the Third Circle of Hell, which houses the gluttons (i.e. Live Nation). Camden is the equivalent of what Dante refered to as the Seventh Circle of Hell, which houses the violent.

Posted by: Mega Man | May 14, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm NEVER going back to Nissan Pavilion, even if Elvis is returned by the aliens who kidnapped him and he sings there.

Posted by: Rich III | May 14, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Buffett fans have no problems with the traffic. And ours is the worst except when weather intervenes like for Radiohead.

An how is the Verizon green? Did Mr Pollin install windmills on the roof or solar panels? Just because you can Metro to the Verizon Center? And chances are metro would have been a disaster with track flooding!

If you go to Nissan traffic is a pain just accept it. Cap Center traffic was a pain back when. And Wolftrap traffic can be a pain too.

And Radiohead fans stop whining. The promoter and the band dont care!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Who or what the f*@#$ is Buffett?

Posted by: Don Gato | May 14, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Every TICKET (not vehicle) to this show was automatically charged a $6 parking fee (is that the same for every show there?). At 25,000 capacity for a sold-out show, that's $150,000 PER SHOW to Live Nation for parking. Where does that money go? From my experience Sunday night -- lots and lots of parking cones.

Besides being a lot of money, it is a perverse system that doesn't encourage carpooling! You can either drive your own car and pay $6 or park, or carpool in a car of 4 and have paid $24 to park! Apply that $24 fee to each VEHICLE and you'll see a lot more people carpooling (and, yes, complaining about the absurd cost to park at Nissan).

Does anyone read comments this far down?

Posted by: Elizabeth | May 14, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"Who or what the f*@#$ is Buffett?"

He's the idiot who wrote Margaritaville, he owns the Margaritaville Cafe restaurant chain and co-developed the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant concept with OSI Restaurant Partners (parent of Outback Steakhouse).

It is my understanding that his fan base results from the food he serves, there is no way it could be from his music.

Posted by: Tudor | May 14, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Buffett is not really an "idiot", between his restaurants, album sales, and tours, he earns an estimated $100 million a year.

His music is only for the "weak of mind".

Posted by: Fender Bender | May 14, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Oy, people, really. Just stop it already. Everyone can like what they like. Yesh.

I've been to Camden for shows a few times. The area around the pavilion is perfectly fine. Parking is a bit interesting, but not that big of a deal. You can even take the either the subway from Philly to the light rail train or catch the light rail train directly at several stops up north with free parking. Unfortunately the train stops running north of the Camden city line at some point in the evening, so you have to be careful where you park.

Posted by: EricS | May 14, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Re: "And Radiohead fans stop whining. The promoter and the band dont care!"

Right, I guess you're correct given that Nissan is offering those of us that were denied entrance complimentary tickets to the Camden NJ show to make up for THEIR mismanagement of the event. You obviously know nothing about Radiohead if you're making generalizations such as these. Sorry if our articulate expression is perceived as "whining" to you but it seems necessary when some have no concept of the issue here. When Nissan proceeds with your concert under publicly stated flash flood warnings and a notoriously poor infrastructure, we'll see your reaction.

Posted by: Joe | May 14, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Shannon,
I appreciate your view, and let me clarify who my point was directed at: those commenters above that acknowledged the "hazardous" conditions, including flood warnings and high wind, and then point the finger at the venue for "putting their safety at risk". Um no. It was and always is in the end THEIR responsibility to evaluate possible risk and take proper action (or inaction in this case by staying home.) I chuckled at the point about the tickets costing a pretty penny and can't imagine that the added cost of fuel for the hours of idling/circling/driving helped matters much. You call me naïve, but I counter with a proven track record of effective complaining targeted at the right people to resolve situations like this. I have done it before and I'd do it again. Being an empowered consumer is a lost art anymore. We just sit back and take it in the rear. So reserve the naïve label for someone it actually applies to, smiles. Yes, some would call me a beetch but I don't let corporate theives take my hard earned money. And neither should you.

Posted by: Blame Me | May 14, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Blame Me, sometimes you can get a chargeback via your credit card or resell the ticket, but I really, really, REALLY doubt a venue with as lousy a customer service rep as Nissan was going to refund any money. I'd love for you to try and then report back here, though!

So, as we could not skip the concert without flushing $150, we did the best we could. We made the prudent decision to dress for the weather, leave early, drive slowly, and take a four-wheel-drive vehicle. We also chose to leave early as temperatures were dropping fast. It didn't matter, we were stuck in the lot for two hours and had to drive home very late at night while exhausted. There were no signs, no information, nothing telling anybody where to go or what to do. In other words, we did things right and still got put in danger.

If a show is "rain or shine", and the venue expects you to be there or forfeit your money, then the venue ought to be prepared to receive you. If they're not, they should cancel the show and give everyone their money back. It's that simple.

I agree with you about being an informed consumer. But businesses need to hold up their end of the bargain, and perform the services they were paid to perform. If they can't do it, then they need to give the customers their money back.

Posted by: Shannon | May 14, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Heh...tongue in cheek title, but I agree with everything you just said. Live Nation made a bad decision (to hold the concert) worse by not communicating with concertgoers (or even their own staff it seems). They may have their short term profits, but I bet this fiasco has cost them something much more valuable long term: goodwill among a fairly affluent customer base.

Posted by: Blame Bush? | May 14, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I will never, ever set foot in Nissan Pavilion again and I got there early enough to get into the show. I've been to outdoor venues in Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Palo Alto, Alpine Valley, WI and Columbia, MD and Nissan is by far the worst designed (access-wise) and has the rudest and most unprepared staff. They won't be seeing any more money from me thank you very much.

Posted by: Neal | May 14, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Re: buffet fan

buffet fan, your a moron, nothing else needs to be said. Further more, if you leave nissan 20 minutes early,(skip the encore) you have no problems. I left at 10:45 and made it home to purcellville at 12:20

I learned my lesson many ozzfest ago, being stuck in the parking lot for 2 1/2 hours next to some drunk rednecks banging in the back of their van.

Posted by: #1 radiohead fan | May 15, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

"buffet fan, your a moron, nothing else needs to be said."

Anyone see the irony in this comment? (I count four mistakes in this sentence alone.)

Posted by: Rich | May 16, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Radiohead is worth the wait in the lot afterwards. Nothing else needs to be said.

Steph Beck!

Posted by: Pittface | May 16, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

radiohead is the worst band in the world

and then coldplay


and jimmy buffet sucks dude

-Ali

Posted by: tHe HaMmEr5548 | May 16, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jeremy Padow | May 17, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

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