Rowdy Iowa State crowd causes shutdown at Waka Flocka show
Famed rapper Waka Flocka Flame spent about 30 minutes performing on Iowa State University campus Tuesday night before organizers pulled the plug on his show.
The concert, held at the Hansen Agricultural Student Learning Center, was cut short due to safety concerns, an Iowa State University official said Wednesday. About 2,000 people attended the show.
Some concertgoers were pushing others and putting pressure on the crowd-to-stage barricade, despite warnings from organizers, George Micalone, director of student activities at Iowa State, said. The show was put on by the Iowa State University Student Union Board.
"Essentially, we noticed from the beginning — before the first opener was on — that the crowd was behaving pretty disrespectfully," Micalone said. "The pushing was rough from the beginning."
A Des Moines-based concert photographer, Joseph Farrell, caught a first-hand look at the barricade while shooting from the photo pit (located between the barrier and stage). Farrell confirmed fans were warned during an opening DJ set to take a step back from the barricade.
He said, though he’s seen crazier crowds, the decision seemed justified. Those in the front row were being pinned up against the barricade and pulled out by security for safety concerns.
Some audience members decided to linger after the show was called off, chanting "We want Waka," Farrell said. The rapper returned to the stage briefly after the show to take photos with the remaining fans.
“It was like the most turned-up crowd I’ve seen in a long time,” Farrell said. “All those kids were just ready. That’s the best way I can explain it.”
Flame took to social media to voice his opinion on the set ending early. He sent a tweet, with a photo, captioning the scene as “insanity.”
“(First) time organizers cut my set early due to them having no control over the huge crowd,” he said in another tweet.
Students also took to Twitter to air thoughts on the shutdown.
“What do you think is going to happen when you bring Waka Flocka to a college town?,” one user, Ben Olsen, tweeted.
“They legit shut down the Waka Flocka concert halfway through ‘cause we were too rowdy,” another user shared.
Micalone said he had to take the safety of everyone involved into consideration.
"Safety (was) number one and ultimately we didn’t have a secure barricade (during Wake Flocka Flame) and we had to take precautionary measure for everybody," Micalone said.
The rapper performed in Iowa City on Monday at the Blue Moose Tap House and last played Des Moines as the 2015 headliner of 515 Alive music festival.