NYPD officials say that attendees were told to move to the nearest exits and "proceed outside of the park" due to approaching severe weather.
#CentralPark Concert Advisory:— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) August 21, 2021
Due to approaching severe weather, all those attending the event are to calmly move to the nearest exits and proceed to areas outside of the park. This is NOT an emergency.
Please be guided by NYPD officers who are there to help. pic.twitter.com/21PWPvp4vZ
It was a single bolt of lightning within a predetermined radius of the park that forced the sudden cancellation of the concert. ABC News reports that the announcement was made over the loudspeaker in the middle of singer Barry Manilow's set.
NYPD helped numerous people out of the park in their vans, including one woman whose motorized wheelchair broke down. Despite the rain, Mayor de Blasio insisted the concert could resume and many singers remained in their tents, waiting to go on.
A week of homecoming concerts in New York City was set to conclude in Central Park on Saturday where tens of thousands of people were gathered on the Great Lawn enjoying the performances of A-listers like Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon.
"While it's disappointing that tonight's concert had to end early, the safety of everyone in attendance had to come first," the mayor tweeted. "To everyone who came out tonight: thank you. Thank you for showing the world that New York City is coming back stronger than ever before."
The "We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert" began at 5 p.m. and was set to run though 10 p.m.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was preaching a "the show must go on" attitude earlier in the day despite concerns over the spread of the delta variant as well as the approach of Hurricane Henri.
On Twitter Saturday afternoon, the mayor reaffirmed that the concert was on, despite possible inclimate weather from Hurricane Henri.
Just before the concert, de Blasio and New York City Emergency Management Department Commissioner John Scrivani held a news conference on Henri.
De Blasio defended continuing with the big Central Park concert Saturday night.
"Since the real impact is not expected until well after the concert, we believe absolutely we can do both these things at once," he said.
The mayor also urged concertgoers to go right home at the end of the night.
As of now we do not expect the weather to have any major impact on tonight’s concert in Central Park and the show will go on!— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 21, 2021
If there are any changes in the forecast we will update New Yorkers immediately.
Before Henri was even a factor, the spread of the delta variant has stoked concerns about the concert. The delta variant is believed to be responsible for 94 percent of new covid cases in the state. Those numbers have led to a feeling of uncertainty among New Yorkers.
Proof of vaccination was required to attend. Concertgoers needed at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca/Oxford.
Attendees could also present proof of vaccination by showing their:
CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card;
A photo (digital or printout) of their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card;
New York City COVID SAFE App; or
New York State Excelsior Pass. (Note: You do not have to be a New York State resident to obtain an Excelsior Pass, however, you must be fully vaccinated to use the pass. Examples: Second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.)
Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon were among the many performers for the Saturday evening show. The full list of performers is below.
Central Park Concert Performers
LL COOL J
Earth, Wind & Fire
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds
The New York Philharmonic
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