Gun scare cancels Avett Brothers concert at Edgefield
Alison Braun was expecting to spend her third evening in a row watching an Avett Brothers concert on Saturday, July 7, but the show was canceled because of an unconfirmed presence of a firearm in the audience.
Braun had attended two prior Avett Brothers concerts hosted at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale on Thursday, July 5, and Friday, July 6, at its outdoor venue on Southwest Halsey Street. Braun knew that from seeing those other shows that the band is punctual as they had started the two prior concerts exactly at 7 p.m.
So when 7:10 p.m. rolled around and the stage remained empty, Braun suspected something wasn't right. Other concert patrons may have guessed that the band was just a few minutes late, which is not uncommon for concerts. But at 8 p.m. the band still had yet to appear, and speculation about what had happened started to swirl through the crowd.
"It was very bizarre. Everyone was talking to each other and there were a lot of rumors and theories, but there was never a point where anyone felt unsafe," Braun said. "It wasn't like everyone needed to evacuate."
A little after 8, an announcements indicated the show was postponed, then canceled. No specific explanation was given, Braun noted. She speculated a security issue was to blame, but didn't learn what it was until later that evening.
"We didn't find out until we started checking the Avett Brothers website," she said. "They released a statement, but we were already home by then."
The show has been rescheduled for Friday, Sept. 21, according to the Avett Brothers website. Tickets purchased for the July 7 date will be honored, and no action is required. To reprint tickets, visit https://www.theavettbrothers.com/news?n_id=451.
Playing it safe
Before the concert began, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) deputies were notified by the private security contractor that provides concert security that a patron walked through a metal detector at the venue gate during the admission process.
Sheriff's deputies, under contract with McMenamins, provide law enforcement services to support private security staff during Edgefield's summer concert series. All ticket holders are required to walk through a metal detector upon entering the concert venue.
Edgefield has a strict "no-firearms" policy for those who attend performances.
Security staff informed deputies that the patron may have been carrying a concealed firearm, though no firearm was seen, and no threat was made by the patron toward security staff, other attendees or the band, according to a press release issued by the sheriff's office in response to media inquiries.
"The individual allegedly told private security staff that they were an out-of-state law enforcement officer, and displayed some type of identification while making this statement," the release states.
After the patron walked through the metal detector and before deputies had been alerted of the incident, private security lost sight of the individual. MCSO members were notified of the incident and began looking for the person, along with the security staff. After a search of several minutes, the patron was not located.
McMenamins staff notified The Avett Brothers of the incident, and the band chose to cancel the concert.
"Due to the obvious threat posed by someone in the audience with a firearm, regardless of his 'unconfirmed' claim of being a member of law enforcement, we were obligated, for the safety of everyone present, to cancel the performance," the band reported in a statement on its website and Facebook page. "It was unfortunate that such action had to be taken, but we have no regrets in being in a position to make a decision which helps keep our fans safe."
Renee Rank Ignacio, McMenamins Director of Marketing, said the company continually updates its security protocols.
"We are reviewing what happened on July 7, and will make adjustments based on what we have learned from the incident," Ignacio said.
Multnomah County Sheriff's deputies will continue to provide security for the Concerts on the Lawn series.
The right call
The Avett Brothers are an American folk-rock-oriented band from Concord, N.C., comprising singing brothers Scott Avett (banjo, guitar, piano, kick drum) and Seth Avett (guitar, piano, hi-hat), along with Bob Crawford (double bass, electric bass, violin, backing vocals) and Joe Kwon (cello, backing vocals), Mike Marsh (drums) and Tania Elizabeth (violin, backing vocals). They have released nine studio albums since 2002, the latest being "True Sadness" in 2016.
Braun said she was worried someone that was hurt, and while the show cancellation was disappointing, she was glad to see everything turn out OK.
"In a lot of ways it was a better-case scenario," Braun said. "It was a huge bummer, but it sounds like they made the right call."
The sheriff's office reported it did not receive credible information related to this incident that led the agency to believe there was an imminent threat toward the safety of anyone in the venue, or on Edgefield property.
"As a result, there is not a criminal investigation related to this incident," the sheriff's office statement said. "If, at some point in the future, MCSO receives credible information that a violation of the law occurred as a result of this information, we will look into that allegation."