Boston Manhunt Shuts Down City's Live-Music Scene

3:05 PM PST 04/19/2013 by Mitchell Peters, Billboard

Numerous concerts have been canceled or postponed following the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and wounded 176.

The city of Boston is virtually on lockdown after police officers shot and killed one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing and are still searching for the second suspect. As a result, many concert promoters and music venues in the Boston area have canceled or postponed events as the manhunt continues.

“Across the board, the city is all closed tonight,” says Josh Bhatti, a talent buyer for the Bowery Presents Boston, which books and promotes concerts at the Sinclair, Royale, T.T. the Bears and Great Scott. “Everyone wants to do what’s best for the city and let law enforcement do what they need to do. We don’t need to get in the way of any of that."

Friday evening Boston concerts that had been canceled or postponed at press time included the Feelies at the Sinclair, the Joy Formidable at House of Blues Boston, Blue Man Group at Charles Playhouse, Big Tree at Hard Rock Cafe Boston, Brown Bird at Brighton Music Hall, the round 2 semifinals of the Rock 'n' Roll Rumble at T.T. the Bears, Ninety Miles at Berklee Performance Center and Amon Tobin at Paradise Rock Club.

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Numerous other concerts had also been canceled or postponed earlier in the week following the April 15 bombing, which killed three people and wounded 176.

Bhatti tells Billboard.biz that it’s unclear whether more events will be canceled or postponed in the coming days. “We’re taking it each day at a time,” he says. “Right now there’s a suspect loose and the whole city is on lockdown. There’s no public transportation. The governor and the emergency management in the state are asking everyone not to be on the roads and stay home. As long as that continues, we’ll certainly postpone shows.”

Other Boston concert promoters and music venues hadn’t responded to Billboard.biz’s request for comment at press time. 

The bombing arrived about a month ahead the inaugural Boston Calling music festival, to be held May 25-26 at City Hall Plaza. Produced by Crash Line Productions in partnership with the Bowery Presents, the Memorial Day festival’s lineup includes The National, Fun., The Shins, Of Monsters and Men and Young the Giant. Crash Line co-founder Brian Appel tells Billboard.biz it’s too early to tell how the bombing could impact the festival.

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"All of Boston is focused on the news at hand, and when life as we know it resumes we will be working closely with all law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety, which has been Boston calling's number one priority since inception," Appel says.

Meanwhile, in light of the Boston bombing, security awareness has been heightened for the second weekend of this year’s Goldenvoice-produced Coachella at Empire Polo Field in Indio, Calif., which started Friday and continues through Sunday evening. Indio Police Department spokesperson Benjamin Guitron tells Billboard.biz that Coachella security and law enforcement officials are taking extra precautions when searching the vehicles and festivalgoers entering the grounds and campsite.

“We haven’t had to change too much of our operation, because we feel confident of what we have in place, other than a reminder of being more vigilant,” Guitron says, noting that the Indio Police Department has worked with the Coachella festival for the past 14 years. “But we’re asking the public to say something if they see anything unusual or doesn’t look right. Even though we have a well-planned operation, it can only be more enhanced with the help of the public.”

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