Rock am Ring music festival to go ahead after terror alarm lifted: German police | News | DW | 03.06.2017
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Rock am Ring music festival to go ahead after terror alarm lifted: German police

German authorities say the Rock am Ring festival can proceed as planned after it was halted on Friday night because of terror fears. The suspension came amid tight security following last month's attack in Manchester.

German police on Saturday gave the all-clear for the music festival Rock am Ring to go ahead after a terror warning led to its being suspended on Friday evening.

In a tweet, police in the nearby city of Koblenz wrote: "We are happy along with you. It's going ahead."

"After intensive searches of the entire festival site, there was no corroboration of suspicions of acute danger," the organizers said on their website. Police also confirmed that searches had now ended.

At a press conference, police chief Wolfgang Fromm said Koblenz police had decided to suspend the festival after receiving a warning on Friday morning that a non-German national with terrorist connections had gained access to security-relevant sites with false identity details. 

He expressed respect for the visitors who had cleared the area without delay or panic.

Another police spokesman said that three people had been temporarily detained on suspicion of possibly planning an attack, but were later released.

Festival organizer Marek Lieberberg also praised the some 86,000 fans for their discipline and good-humored patience in evacuating such a large area within a quarter of an hour.

He said the festival was considering whether it was possible for some of the bands who were unable to play on Friday evening to give their performances on Saturday or Sunday.

Quick evacuation

The festival was suspended on Friday evening at 9.30 p.m. (1930 UTC), with Lieberberg mounting the stage to tell the assembled crowd to evacuate the area.

 Authorities said there were "concrete indications on the basis of which a possible terrorist threat can't be ruled out," but gave no details at the time.

The interior minister of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where the Nürburgring is situated, defended the move on Friday.

"We had to make this decision," Roger Lewentz said. "All police experts were in agreement. We had no other choice."

Security at the event had been stepped up following an attack on a concert in the northern English city of Manchester last week. Lieberberg commemorated the Manchester victims as he opened the festival on Friday evening.

Germany's most famous rock festival

Rock am Ring was initiated in 1985 and has been taking place at the Nürburgring, a motorsport complex, ever since, with the exception of the years 2015 and 2016, when it was moved to the nearby Mendig airbase for financial reasons that have since been resolved.

Musikfestival Rock am Ring (picture alliance/dpa/T. Frey)

The festival draws tens of thousands of fans each year as a rule

The festival runs parallel to the Rock im Park festival in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, where the same bands were scheduled to appear, but in a different order. The Nuremberg festival took place as planned.

Up to 90,000 fans had been expected at "Rock am Ring" this year. The suspension of the festival on Friday meant that fans missed out on a performance by the well-known German band Rammstein, scheduled for later in the evening.

tj/jlw (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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