Chaos Outside Webster Hall as Fans Flock to Would-Be Kanye West Concert

No official announcement was made about what led to the show's cancellation, but it was likely the enormous crowd

What to Know

  • Hundreds of people showed up at Webster Hall in the East Village for a pop-up Kanye West concert.
  • The concert was announced late Sunday following the cancellation of the Governors Ball Music Festival due to bad weather.
  • There was chaos outside Webster Hall as energetic fans climbed on cars and light posts. No arrests were made, but some cars were damaged.

Hundreds of people packed the streets outside Webster Hall in Manhattan's East Village after Kanye West teased a surprise concert there early Monday — but the concert was ultimately canceled as the crowd grew and grew, leading to a frenzied scene that left behind smashed cars and piles of trash. 

Despite high energy at the unplanned event and a heavy police presence, no one was arrested, according to the NYPD.

Photos and video posted online show hundreds, possibly thousands, of people gathered outside the concert venue. Some fans climbed on top of cars and others scaled poles and light posts. East 11th Street was jam-packed end to end down the block as people clapped and cheered. 

Hundreds flocked to a would-be Kanye West concert at Webster Hall in a frenzied scene early Monday morning. Tracie Strahan reports.

A police car and a taxi cab could be seen trying to make their way through the throng of people. East 11th Street was ultimately closed between Third and Fourth avenues as more fans streamed in. 

Concertgoers said other rappers and West's management gave clues something would happen at Webster Hall around 2 a.m. Within minutes, the streets were packed with fans and police. 

West took to Twitter at 1 a.m. to announce that the 2 a.m. pop-up concert had sold out. But by 1:45 a.m., Webster Hall tweeted, "There is no late show at Webster Hall tonight. Please get home safely." 

A Webster Hall employee said the concert was never officially scheduled. One employee was seen with a bullhorn telling the crowd: "Go home! Go home!"

No official announcement was made about what led to the show's cancellation, but it was likely the enormous crowd, which ballooned quickly after word of the concert got out.

"It was an energy. It wasn't that people were bugging out, but it wasn't that people were calm. People just saw their idol, so it was almost like excitement," said Dante Moreno, from New Rochelle.

As the energy grew, West appeared on top of a car that was quickly surrounded by fans. The musician could be seen driving by amid a wave of cellphones as fans tried to get a photo of the Grammy Award-winning musician. 

By 3:30 a.m., East 11th Street had cleared out and re-opened to traffic — but smashed cars were left behind. Some of the vehicles had shattered windows and others had dented roofs. The crowd also left heaps of trash.

Nareem Rigaud, of Brooklyn, said despite some destruction, a positive atmosphere surrounded the event.

"It wasn't a crazy riot or anything. People was just eager to see Kanye. The energy was high but there wasn't fighting or anything like that," Rigaud said.

But East Village resident Michael Gomez saw it differently. He said that both of his cars were vandalized during the chaos. Now, he said, he's stuck paying his insurance deductibles. 

"They are animals," Gomez said. "No reason to do something like that. No reason at all."

It's unlikely West or Webster Hall will be culpable for any of the damages, however. Attorney Michael Bachner said that he could have let police know he was going to announce the performance, but there was know way he could have predicted the crowd's behavior.

"The only way to hold Kanye West liable would be to prove he had knowledge or intention or at least acted negligently," he said. 

Later on Monday, Mayor de Blasio tweeted to West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, urging them to plan future events with the city.

".@kanyewest @kimkardashian Great block parties are planned. @Chirlane & I can throw one w/ you to benefit NYC kids," he tweeted.

West's surprise announcement came after the third day of the Governors Ball Music Festival was canceled due to stormy weather. West was scheduled to perform at the Randall's Island event before it was rained out. 

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