Radiohead: Flooding Forces Fans To Circle Parking Lot For 3 Hours

It seems this weekend’s Radiohead concert in the D.C. area was a spectacular failure. The show was billed as rain or shine and rain it did — fans are reporting that they were turned away from the parking lot and forced to circle the venue for the entire duration of the show.

Reader Tmoney02 says:

One of the two roads getting into the venue was closed due to flooding, and the venue began denying people parking. Instead they would send them on “detours” around the venue never letting anyone park causing a lot of people to spend hours sitting in gridlock in their cars going around and around the venue while the show played.

Here are a few experiences from the comments of DCist:

The rain didn’t just cause thousands of Radiohead fans to send out endless Twitter updates. It caused thousands of us to miss the entire show. Traffic was a mess, and one of the roads in flooded out. They were turning back people at the entrance. My friends and I gave up about 1/4 mile from the place (after detouring all the way around it) when it became obvious Radiohead had just started the encore. I’m never going to Nissan Pavilion again, and I hope Radiohead (and Live Nation) can find a way to schedule another show in the area (in the city would be nice). But I’ll get over it eventually.

Some sort of explanation is definitely called for from Nissan Pavilion on this one. If your venue depends on auto access (as Nissan does), and people can’t get in by car, then, frankly, you ought to give them their money back. At a minimum you ought to apologize for making them sit in lines of traffic six miles long for a few hours. Would it have been so hard to send a guy with a bullhorn out to tell us we weren’t going to get in?

my boyfriend and his 2 friends never got into the show. they were pretty devastated – they love radiohead. i left early because they gave up after they were turned away at the entrance and told there was a “detour.” they were still trying to get into the venue during the 1st encore. they gave up and went to ihop.

we left in sufficient time even in rain to get there, i know we did. we all knew we did.

we had a blast in the car. me and my friend were going to get out and kick down this sign that said ‘no open fires before 4 PM’ which we thought was funny.

i just think the little people get forgetten about. just sitting in cars not knowing anything.

a cancellation would have been fine, a redo on the tickets a new show or something.

Apparently, all three of the D.C. area’s major airports set daily records for rainfall yesterday. Maybe the tickets should have said “rain, shine, or freakish acts of god.” Were any Consumerist readers at this show? Let’s hear your experience in the comments.

Morning Roundup: Water and Weddings Edition
(read the comments) [DCist]
(Photo: easement )

UPDATE: Reader Guy CC’d this complaint letter to our tipline:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to complain strongly about the handling of the Radiohead concert at Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, VA on May 11.

After waiting in traffic in pouring rain for over two hours, my wife and I were unable to gain entry even into the parking lot, much less the concert. While the management is certainly not responsible for the inclement weather, they are clearly to blame for the lack of adequate traffic control measures to ensure that those who purchased tickets to a sold out concert (including a parking fee above and beyond the ticket cost which is charged per ticket rather than per car).

In addition, the fact that flood warnings were issued not only for the location of the concert but nearly all the surrounding counties as well, created a dangerous situation for all concert goers. The fact that these flood warnings were issued before the stated starting time of the concert compounds the error.

It should have been clear to Nissan Pavilion’s management before the concert began that they would be unable to provide parking and entrance to all ticketholders and that their attempts to do so would create a dangerous situation. The responsible action on the part of Nissan Pavilion would have been to cancel the concert and offer refunds to all ticketholders or to postpone the concert and offer refunds to those ticket holders unable to attend the later date.

I hope that Nissan Pavilion will take some action to offer remedy to those ticketholders who were refused admission to this concert because of management’s poor planning and reaction to adverse conditions. The fact that all tickets contained bar codes which were scanned upon admission to the concert should made it easy to identify the injured parties.




Edit Your Comment

  1. tedyc03 says:

    I wasn’t at this show but I did try and see Dave Matthews there. Spent the concert in traffic.

  2. RonDiaz says:

    Flooding is no joke. Mother Nature is a bitch sometimes, that’s life.

  3. I’ve pretty much given up on concerts after a couple of experiences not too unlike this (especially bad after you drive 2-3 hours just to get there first). I never understood why they rarely ever offer some kind of a park-and-ride arrangement with a local mall (etc) with unused capacity. Charge $5 a head, make a killing.

  4. BlondeGrlz says:

    A few years ago, Radiohead tried to have an outdoor concert in Bull Run County Park, just a couple of miles from Nissan Pavilion. It was a campground, not a normal concert venue, and we had no experience with handling thousands of people. Our total staff was less than 10.

    The weather was almost this bad – pouring rain, flooded roads, the whole campsite was mud – and the temporary stage was completely open to the elements. They had to cancel the concert and we had to evacuate the people who had been camping out. Those were some pissed off fans. It was my last day of a summer job at the park and the worst day at any job I have ever had.

    I think the moral of the story is not to go to Radiohead concerts in Northern Virgina.

  5. outinthedark says:

    Nissan is on a hill…I can only imagine the rain pouring down as it was this past weekend. The amount of water pouring out onto the barely 4 lane highway there must have been insane.

    I went to the Def Leppard concert a few months back [luckily we were VIP and literally got the closest parking spot possible] and the whole parking lot area in on an incline. The pavilion sits atop the hill.

    Why they didn’t just put it on one of the many signs I had seen on the side of the highway there amazes me.

    I’m not from that area but thanks to my buddie’s uncle we had the best seats in the house. When we were driving up there we came the back way [the direction he lived] rather than just getting off the highway. That whole road must have been terribly flooded. It is really a tiny road.

  6. Tmoney02 says:

    Thanks for posting another one of my tips! I had one thing in my email which didn’t make the cut but I think is important and radiohead and their managment should be held accountable for.

    Radiohead is claiming to be doing and promoting a “green” concert tour, telling people on their website to use public transportation and that they will play concerts in city centers. As seen here Yet they decide to play at a concert as far way from DC as possible with no public transportation. Imagine how much more green and enjoyable to the fans it would have been if they played at verizon center.

  7. KIbbit says:

    I blame the victims, every last one of you

  8. headhot says:

    The doors opened at 6:00pm. The opening act started at 7:30, Radiohead played from 9-11.

    I live in DC, knowing in the best of weather, traffic to the Pavilion royally blows, my wife and I left at 5:30, 2 hours before the opening act.

    We got there at 7:00, which isn’t bad.

    What we did do, though, was take Rt 50 to 29, avoiding Rt 66 entirely.

    Because of the absolute clusterfuck that is Nissan Pavilion, we almost never go. If it were not Radiohead, and the fact that there were no other shows scheduled in 300 miles, we would have never considered going.

    After this mess, I don’t think there is any band that could get us out there under any condition.

    Fuck the Pavilion.

    What I don’t get is why didn’t Radiohead play the Verizon Center, or RFK, or the Nats Stadium? For such a environmentally concerned band to play such a inaccessible venue is truely bone headed. If I were them I would fire my booker.

  9. chewy568 says:

    My husband made it to the show last night, but it took him 3 hours to get home after. We were both at the Bull Runn Radiohead concert a few years ago. What BlondeGrlz didn’t metion is that those tickets were also supposed to be “Rain or Shine.” Yeah, not so much, but we had to endure *hours* of pouring rain, floodwaters up to our knees, lighting and no cover before the powers that be finally made the decision to tell us to stop whining and just go home and wait for the refund. We kept waiting because they would periodically announce that the show was going to happen, we just had to wait out the rain. And about the refund: the ticket prices were refunded, but not the evil and excessive TicketMaster fees.

  10. Tgg says:

    I was at this concert (and the similarly ill-fated Bull Run concert, too). We were among the last to get in the parking lot.

    There’s essentially one road (wellington) to the venue — and you can come at from the west or the east. The police closed one of the directions, and sent people who came that way on an endless detour loop.

    Thom dedicated the second to last song to the people stuck in their cars :(

  11. ewburnha says:

    I was one of the lucky few who circled for 3 hours and somehow got in. . .so I could see 7 songs. Along the way there were cops sending us aimlessly through exurbia, flooded roads galore, and a car fire to top it all off. Only through some luck of the draw did me and my cohorts make it through in time to see them shut down the parking lot behind us so they could start re-routing people back out.

    The weather was horrible, to be sure, but the contingency plans (if that’s what you could call them) that Nissan Pavilion had were woefully inadequate, and downright dangerous. People were abandoning cars at the end to sprint through traffic in super-low visibility, and communal road rage doesn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere.

    After a few concerts there, I have now officially sworn off Nissan Pavilion for all eternity, or at least until they figure out how to shuttle people in buses or something from DC or the end of the metro.

    In the grand scheme of things, this is not tornadoes and flooding of homes, but it was still an unnecessary experience for all involved.

  12. arras says:

    Wasn’t at the concert, but did have a good time waiting in the 3+ hour line to get into the DC101 Chili Cook-off concert on Saturday. The line went around the entire block and hardly moved. my sister and I stood at the corner near the stage, listened to Chevelle’s set and then left

  13. uncleezno says:

    I was at the concert and it was incredible. Left DC at 5, got there at 630. I feel bad for people who didn’t make it to the show, but honestly, there were flood warnings out and it had been pouring rain all day. If you didn’t leave early, that’s your own fault.

    Radiohead didn’t pick Nissan Pavilion. Their manager sends somebody to the States who tours venues and decides where they will play. The band doesn’t like to play huge venues anymore, and they don’t like to play indoor venues, because the sound isn’t as good. The Pavilion is small and out of the way, but the acoustics are great, and it wasn’t their direct decision.

  14. Hanke says:

    @Ash78: In NY, we have Randall’s Island. All tickets for events there have a parking fee. The Transit Authority offers round-trip bus service for $5 to and from the venue from Shea Stadium and from other nearby subway stations (there is only local bus service and auto access to the island)

  15. dorianh49 says:

    I guess their street spirit wasn’t high and dry.

  16. uncleezno says:

    And also, I think the claim of “thousands” of people circling in cars is way out of proportion. From what I could see inside the venue, it was pretty much full up, except for the lawn seats.

    I didn’t mean to sound insensitive, but most people did make it to the show in time. It was a crappy situation, hopefully those who can prove they didn’t get in will get a refund.

  17. Buran says:

    @uncleezno: Then why do they claim they’ll be in city centers and use “green” venues?

    “Do as I say not as I do” strikes again.

  18. Crunchbird says:

    What I don’t get is why didn’t Radiohead play the Verizon Center, or RFK, or the Nats Stadium?

    Verizon Center would probably have been unavailable due to the need to keep dates clear for possible basketball or hockey playoff games. Admittedly, the DC teams didn’t make it to the second round in either set of playoffs, but the planners didn’t know that would happen.

    As far as I am aware there are no plans to make Nationals Park available as a concert venue during the baseball season. Frankly I’m amazed they let the Catholics use it for the Pope’s visit.

    That leaves RFK, and every report I’ve ever had about a concert at RFK has included the fact that it sucked acoustically. Green principles or no, I don’t think Radiohead is willing to sacrifice their sound to play in a big, clunky stadium just because it’s more Metro-accessible.

  19. henwy says:

    Well, it seems that more than a couple of people have no posted that they were able to make it to the event without any extreme problems. Add that to the report that it was nearly full up at the concert and you have to wonder if this was a case of inadequite planning on the part of a small minority.

  20. missdona says:

    @Hanke: I got stuck for 3 hours in the Randalls’ Island parking lot after Pearl Jam in ’96. Good times.

    At least I got to see the show, but that post-show gridlock was like something not of this world.

  21. muddymaesuggins says:

    @uncleezno – thousands is not an overestimate. trust me.

  22. davebg5 says:

    I would dispute the charge to Ticketmaster for the tickets. You showed up for the show, but the promoters didn’t let you in. That’s not your fault.

    I had a similar experience where the promoter double-booked a venue, so on the day of the show (around 5pm) I received a voice mail from Ticektmaster informing me that the 9PM show would start at 7PM. My roommate and I made it in time for the last song. I disupted the charge and AMEX found in my favor.

    Ticketmaster wants all of the money without any of the responsibility. Thankfully, AMEX saw things the same way.

  23. shocksyde says:

    Gladly, my friend and I left the Bethesda area at 3:45PM. We had no problems at all getting into the parking lot.

    However, as we sat in our car (not) drinking beers, the situation deteriorated rapidly. The parking lot quickly became a flood plain. Rivers of water and mud were already forming around 5PM. Getting to the port-o-pots became a high-seas adventure.In order to get to the gate from the parking lot, you had to jump over a newly-formed river.

    They opened the gates early because people were huddling around the entrance trying to stay dry (didn’t work). The concourse and path around the pavillion were in pretty good shape at first. Some large puddles, but nothing more.

    Then, the raging river formed along the path between the pavillion and the lawn seats. You could hear it from my seats (near the back). It looked to be 4 inches of muddy water.

    After Radiohead finished, the crowd poured out of the seats and were greeted with walking through 4 inches of water to get to the concourse. The concourse itself had a section with water that looked to be at least a foot deep.

    Finally, we get to our car. We then pull 10 feet out of our spot, and proceed to sit there for 1 hour without any movement. We look to our left, and someone had figured out you could drive into the VIP parking area, which happened to have an exit right at the front of the parking lot. After 1.5 hours or trying to leave, we finally make it out.

    Good news, right? Not really. Every single road that could possibly take us back towards Bethesda is blocked by police. I’m damn lucky I had a GPS, otherwise I most likely would have slept in my car in a Walmart parking lot.

    With all that said, the show was pretty good. Not worth the hastle, in my opinion. One of my coworkers sat in traffic for 2 hours and was forced to turn around and go home. Now THAT sucks. I told him it was probably for the better, though.

    Nissan Pavillion DEFINITELY needs to refund those that were turned away. To be honest, the show never should have happened in the first place. Flood warnings + rock show = hell no.

  24. Tmoney02 says:

    “they don’t like to play indoor venues, because the sound isn’t as good. The Pavilion is small and out of the way, but the acoustics are great, and it wasn’t their direct decision.”

    So it was their decision to prioritize outdoor venues for better sound while also promoting the tour as green. Your not being logical.

    Either they say we want the best experience for our fans, which is fine, or they say we want this tour to be green so we will do a little bit of sacrifice, as they talk about on their blog I linked.

    If they aren’t willing to sacrifice a bit of sound quality that I’m sure was more than drowned out by the rain of the outdoor venue, they shouldn’t keep promoting the tour as being green and telling fans to make sacrifices like them.

    “I feel bad for people who didn’t make it to the show…but…If you didn’t leave early, that’s your own fault.”

    People did come early and were on time to park but the venue closed the parking lots stopping people from parking. It doesn’t matter how early you come if you can’t park you can’t go. None of the clusterF@#K that was that concert would have happened if it was at Verizon center. And the band would be green like they claim, and the fans would be dry and comfortable.

  25. rockstarjoe says:

    We were turned away by police at the main road into Nissan, but thanks to a GPS we managed to find our way in to another entrance. There were no signs directing people this way and we were one of the only cars who seemed to know where to go.

    The concert was ok, although I think the sound was not great. The people that were working security were dicks, and asked to see our tickets at least 7 times because so many people were trying to sneak in so they could be out of the rain (Nissan has covered seating closer to the stage, and then uncovered seating in the back). They also wouldn’t let people walk through the inside of the ampitheater to get to your seats, instead forcing you to go back out into a flooded walkway.

    We were soaking wet and freezing cold, and decided to get a jump on traffic by leaving a bit early. We got back to our car at 11pm and tried to leave the parking lot but found that they weren’t letting anyone out because the road was flooded.

    We sat in the car for 2.5 hours before they let us out of there. Whoever designed that venue is an idiot, the management that runs it is idiotic, and Radiohead should take a lot of blame for booking a show in such a remote, gas-unfriendly place.

  26. WWB says:

    After reading that, I feel much better about standing in the downpour for three hours with no raincoat and a broken umbrella. Sure, the experience was miserable, but at least I got into the show. Weather aside, the show was great.

  27. BelleJebbie says:

    I was at this show, I guess I was one of the lucky ones- We had taken
    the wrong exit off of 66 and ended up on 29, way north of the venue. We
    drove through flooded roads and standing water, turned into the queue of
    cars, and somehow managed to get into a parking lot. But even though we
    left before the encores to beat the traffic we sat in our cold wet car
    for two and a half hours. The parking lot did not even begin to empty
    until 1:30 AM. We’re both sick now too. Needless to say we are never,
    ever, ever going to Nissan Pavilion again.

  28. kc2idf says:

    Several of our local (Albany, NY) major concert venues are accessible by public transit. Having once missed half of a show in downtown Albany traffic, I’ve resolved to use it in the future.

  29. uncleezno says:

    @Buran: As Crunchbird said, the most important consideration for the band, understandable, is how they sound. They didn’t make a promise to each individual fan when they announced their tour that they would play in venues located within 10 minutes of public transportation – just that they would try.

  30. thirdbase says:

    Can you just pay what you want for their concert tickets like you can for their albums. That would be cool.

  31. Buran says:

    @uncleezno: What we’re doing to this planet is a lot more important than whether every note on some guy’s guitar is audible or not. A concert is over in a day. A screwed up planet may well be forever.

  32. “I hope that Nissan Pavilion will take some action to offer remedy to those ticketholders who were refused admission to this concert because of management’s poor planning and reaction to adverse conditions.”

    Yeah, hold your breath waiting for that refund.

  33. hexychick says:

    @Tmoney02: They need to pick one or the other – green or sound. In this situation, they can’t claim both because they chose to play at a venue where there is absolutely no public transport. It’s in the middle of nowhere and you can only really take major highways to get there so you HAVE to drive. How is that green?

    @uncleezno: No, but you know Nissan is way the hell out there and they could have picked any number of more local venues where this wouldn’t have been as big an issue. And thousand stranded is not an underestimate – the lawn seating holds thousands of people and then some. Who would want to get there early if they knew they’d be in the rain for most of it? You were one of the lucky ones under the pavillion part.

    @Crunchbird: RFK isn’t as bad as they claim. I think it would have been a more suitable location for this area.

  34. annab says:

    @BlondeGrlz: Radiohead clearly is not meant to play Virginia.

    I was at the band’s show Friday in Charlotte and traffic was a disaster, though not nearly as bad as the DC situation. It took us 1.5 hours to go 3 miles down Tryon Road. No one was directing traffic, the traffic lights were poorly synced. My boyfriend and I broke into a run as soon as we parked the car and made it to the pit by the end of the second song.

    Totally worth the hassle in the end (the show was amazing), but I’ll have to have a damn good reason to go back to that venue again.

  35. @uncleezno:

    I live 3 miles from the venue, my room mates went and apparently the lawn was pretty much empty. With a place like Nissan Pavilion, 2/3s of the tickets sold are on the lawn.

    Somewere up there someone commented about the “barely 4 lane highway” leading to the pavilion, thats the longer, more out-of-the-way way to get there, the main line in is a two-lane (one per direction) road.

    And to the people who had to wait 2 hours just to get out of the parking lot, I feel your pain. Last time I went there I sat in the car with some friends for 2 hours, said “fuck it” and walked home (3 miles or so). Not only did I beat them home (me to mine, them to theirs in Manassas, 6 miles away) I beat them home by an hour.

    Nissan Pavillion is the biggest cluster-fuck of a venue I’ve ever seen. All summer traffic sucks whenever theres a show. I’d advise EVERYONE to avoid it at all costs. The worst part is the local county govt people got kickbacks in exchange for Nissan not having to build up the roads, our tax dollars finally built that “4 lane highway” last year. And the cops directing traffic? They’re on the county’s dime too.

    Fuck Nissan Pavilion. Really, Fuck ’em.

  36. Rajio says:

    Really? they were forced to drive aimlessly in a circle for three hours? they couldnt just, you know, turn off their cars?

  37. Tmoney02 says:


    Exactly my point. I was quoting uncleezno and trying to point out exactly that (“They need to pick one or the other – green or sound”). Thanks for putting it in a much more concise and precise matter. That is why I mention that playing at the Verizon center would make everyone happy. (Dry fans who didn’t have to fight traffic, Band actually being green like they say, etc.)

    Its not like they are playing the previous or next show anywhere near DC. They went from the state of North Carolina to DC to Drive all the way out to St. Louis for the next show.

    If they couldn’t book a venue they liked inside the city for Sunday, they could have tacked on a DC date at the end of the tour or even better played it in august when they are playing the rest of the east coast

  38. mirrorball says:

    @Rajio: Well I suppose that would have been one option, but traffic was sort of moving, albeit very very slowly as the worked its way around the detour. But it’s not like we drove in the same circle several times for three hours. It took three hours just to make it around the circle once. That’s what was frustrating. It takes three hours just to make it to the entrance, only to be told you can go in. They had one electronic sign at the spot of the detour, but it had no info. How hard would it have been for someone (Live Nation/Nissan Pavilion, the local police, etc.) to post another electronic sign that said “three hour wait” or “parking lot closed.”?

    Well, Nissan Pavilion is taking names/numbers. I guess they’re figuring out some sort of PR damage control on this one. They’re telling people they’ll call back in a couple of days.

  39. mirrorball says:

    Sorry, that should say, it took three hours just to make it around to the entrance, only to be told you CAN’T go in.

  40. UdeleElephino says:

    A few extra notes.

    1. To give you some more ideas about the average concertgoer’s experience
    last night, we got on I-66 in east Falls Church around 6:20, knowing we
    would experience some traffic getting into the venue and not caring if we
    missed the opening act. We experienced no slowdowns despite the usual
    madness that is I-66, especially in inclement weather, until we approached
    exit 47 in Manassas. We took the first of the two recommended exits, exit
    44, and sat through 90 minutes of traffic before reaching a “road closed due
    to flooding” sign and being re-routed to what was essentially where we
    would’ve ended up had we sat through another mile of traffic on 66 and taken
    exit 43. We were able to park, fortunately, and got to our (thankfully
    covered, pavilion) seats around 9:45.

    2. Of course, the main trouble then was that our seats were taken by hippies
    who had obviously paid for lawn seats and sneaked into covered seats. I
    immediately told them to move their act elsewhere, but could see that hordes
    of folks had done the same thing — pretty much anybody wearing a hippie
    blanket like a poncho could reliably have been a lawn seat person who had
    moved forward into the pavilion seating, and there were scads of them at my
    view. So, to those who say they saw nary a pavilion seat unfilled and there
    couldn’t have possibly been thousands of cars that weren’t allowed to park,
    think again.

    3. There was a seemingly private-run “special” parking lot INSIDE Nissan
    Pavilion that was charging $30 per car to avoid the lines. We did not go in
    there, needless to say, as 4 carpoolers in one car who had already paid a
    total of $24 toward parking thanks to that $6 per ticket parking fee that
    one commenter mentioned above.

    4. Taking Route 29 there might have been fine, but if you did as we did and
    attempted to take it home, you’ll know that the police had blocked off the
    road and were redirecting everyone back to I-66 due to flooding. Also,
    taking non-Interstates in pouring rain isn’t always the smartest idea if you
    drive a normal car with no off-road capabilities that sits less than a foot
    from the ground.

    5. Radiohead is fantastic and I’m glad I went, especially after missing them
    at Bull Run in 2002 (wait, or was it 2001? time flies) when that got rained
    out, as another poster mentioned.

  41. tkozikow says:

    Nissan is a pretty good venue to see a concert, but access has been bad for the 10+ years that it has been open and is not going to improve anytime soon. All of the “secret” backroads and shortcuts are now well known, so either plan on getting there 2+ hours in advance or accept that you will wait in traffic. The country concert season starts in a couple of weeks with WMZQFest and it will be nothing but chaos and mayhem through the end of the summer. In addition to the traffic the police do NOTHING to manage drinking which creates a lot of out of control people, especially minors who know that this is the place to get totally wasted.

  42. strathmeyer says:

    People try to drive in DC? How cute.

  43. woohokie says:

    I was there. I feel really sorry for the people who couldn’t make it as it was an incredible show. However, you should have left earlier! We got to the venue at 5, and had absolutely no traffic to deal with and just heavy rain at the time. We sat in the car for an hour or so and drank then headed out to the show. It was a truly incredible show.

  44. woohokie says:

    The venue is terrible though. They made us park a mile away and we were among the first people there. They also circled us around 66 for an hour in traffic. Once we got on the highway it was smooth sailing though.

  45. JoshMac says:

    I grew up in DC and recently moved. I feel bad for Radiohead as this looks bad on them. Really this venue has always had an issue and is one of the reasons I would never go to it. I’ve pretty much gone to every DC venue but that one. Nissan has no issue taking loads of money in every night but has not invested anything into their parking situation. For all the Radiohead fans I feel very sorry for you and would be just as pissed as you all are.

  46. joedcbalt says:

    I just called TicketMaster to investigate refund options for people who were turned away. They gave me the number to Nissan Pavillion right away and said they would be “doing something” about that.

    The number to Nissan Pavillion (Live Nation) is 703-754-6400.

    I called and talked to a nice lady who took down my contact info after I told her I was turned away from the show last night. She said someone would call me back about the issue. When asked how long a call back would take, she said 2-3 days. I’m willing to give them a chance to make this right, and I hope everyone else who was adversely affected will try the same. Please call if you were turned away, and hold on to your untorn ticket stubs! Be calm, friendly, and patient. I’m sure they’ll do the right thing.

    More importantly, please spread the word about this. If we get enough people calling eventually some good will come from this.

  47. blitzcat says:

    Lets share the blame.

    I went to the Friday show in Charlotte/Alltel Pavillion? We saw the show but spent an hour and a half trapped leaving the venue. Show was over at 10:50, didn’t roll out of the parking lot until 12:30. I’m done with concerts in Charlotte.

  48. The people turned away were probably the lucky ones.

  49. headhot says:

    How about we try to put pressure on the owners via Nissan. Carpet bomb the execs at Nissan for refunds. If they want to associate themselves with such a consumer unfriendly venue, they should get the fallout.

  50. Robobot says:


    The worst part is that it isn’t even in D.C, it’s just people trying to drive in D.C. traffic squeezed on to two-lane back roads.

    The hell that is Nissan is truly awful. I haven’t even been to the venue, but the drunk driving, traffic tie-ups, and horror stories from friends that come with every show make me hate it with a passion. All that coupled with the hell that has been the weather of late, I can see how maddening, not to mention dangerous, this must have been. (Seriously, the weather has been brutal.)

  51. mrb2008 says:

    Because no one wanted to drive to Nissan, we ended up getting a bus for about 40 people. We left DC at 5:30 and got to the area in 2 or so hours. There were some issues getting around the flooded roads, which took about 30 minutes, but the driver got past it alright.

    Unfortunately, the driver made the mistake of going to get gas after he dropped us off at the show. They would not let him back in. Actually, after his third try to get back in they threatened to have him arrested. So we had thirty some odd people (some of whom only loosely knew each other) try and find the bus in a torrential downpour. No one on Nissan staff or law enforcement were even remotely helpful. Some were downright rude. Eventually we trudged about a 30-40 minute walk in the rain, along the highway and to a remote shopping center where we met the bus. There were many others stranded there, some of whom were pleading to get on our bus. There was a father trying to pick up his teenage daughter who was denied entrance.

    In essence, it was a complete mess. For some people, it was downright dangerous. And our bus driver made a poor decision, but there is no excuse for the poor planning of Nissan and local law enforcement. Any venue in which driving is a requirement should have some kind of safeguards to protect its customers.

  52. If you are foolish enough to believe the hippy crap that a group puts out and that they are not out just to make a killing, you deserve what you get.

    I’ve enjoyed a number of concerts, but I was never forced to pay for them. Free tickets are great! At least that way if the show is FUBAR you don’t lose any money.

    Seriously, the modern concert system is fucked up so bad it’s psychotic.

  53. IamTCM says:

    *sigh* I was at the concert. We got there at 6:00pm so we had no trouble finding parking or getting into the show.

    Frankly, no band was worth the 5 hours of monsoon I sat through. I would have left during the opening act if it wasn’t for my the people I drove with having covered seats, and thus not enduring the shitty experience I had.

    To make matters worse, it took us one and a half hours to leave the venue (after the 2nd encore).

    Got home to D.C. at 1:50am.

  54. @headhot: Yes, and let’s carpet bomb the owners of every mall or shopping center with a store that offers shitty customer service! That’ll show ’em!

    Seriously, worst idea ever.

    Back on topic, can we get off of this whole “RADIOHEAD ARE HYPOCRITES!” diatribe? How many of you clicked the link and saw that it clearly said “as many as possible” and not “all”? The only viable venues in the area, given their distaste with performing indoors, were RFK Stadium and Merriweather Post Pavilion. Merriweather isn’t accessible by public transportation either, and the last time the band was in town, they played there. RFK holds roughly 50,000; Nissan was, from my quick math, the largest venue they played on this leg at HALF that size. It would have made zero sense.

    It sucks, but how many other events have gone off at Nissan without a hitch (save for the parking, which is always an issue)? For the love of god, don’t blame the band for the venue’s idiocy.

  55. FletcherChimpanzee says:

    I was there. It was an unmitigated disaster. We left the concert before
    the 2nd encore was over, and it still took us about 2 hours to go the 3-4
    miles to get on 66 from Nissan. We left at 4 to get there for a 730 show,
    and got there okay, but we heard lots of stories of people who just sat in
    traffic during the entire concert. Radiohead and Nissan both deserve the
    blame for this — the conditions of the show were rain or shine, so they
    better damn have a plan for both.

  56. amigabill says:

    My girlfriend and I were stuck in that mess. Google directions said about an hour drive, we left two hours before the show. We got to about 3 miles away after a 3.5 hour crawl and gave up trying to get onto the pavillion access road. They should update their “rain or shine” policy to consider monsooning that makes them turn paid ticketholders away who still want to get in and get soaked. We’d love a refund or a reschedule. We wanted to go stand in the rain, as did most of those other thousands of fans who were not given that choice.

  57. amigabill says:

    P.S. sign me up for any class actions that may result from this thing…

  58. Tmoney02 says:

    @Carl Everett’s Fossil Collection:
    “The only viable venues in the area, given their distaste with performing indoors.”

    Don’t you see thats the whole point of the problem. If they want to talk about all the sacrifices and commitments they are making to have a “green” tour, and promote it as such, then they have to put themselves where their mouth is. By making the small sacrifice (and in this case it would benefit everyone, band included) of playing indoors to show their commitment to being green.

  59. Jabberkaty says:

    I’m getting claustrophobic jitters just reading these posts. *shudder* My stomach feels all twisty thinking about the rain, the rage, and missing radiohead – too much to bear.

  60. Vanvi says:

    I saw this headline and knew it had to be Nissan Pavilion. I went there in the pouring rain a few years ago and sounds like nothing has changed. The traffic was horrible, the (unpaved) parking lot was flooded, we had to walk at least a quarter mile in literally ankle to knee-deep water, and then only saw 3 songs from the group we went there to see. If this is clearly a recurring problem, they need to invest in paving and draining their lot.

  61. @Tmoney02: It’s one post on their blog about how they’re trying to cut down on CO2 emissions. How does that constitute them talking about all of the sacrifices they’re making? It’s not as if this was the “Radiohead Saves Earth” World Tour.

    All the same, that doesn’t matter. Even if you tell them to suck it up and play indoors, the only venue in the area that meets the size requirement that Radiohead had for this tour and is accessible by public transportation is Verizon Center, which had to be held open with the Wizards and Capitals making playoff runs.

  62. Imaginary_Friend says:

    I read on a blog that if you weren’t able to make it to the show, Nissan might be able to refund you. Phone: 703-754-6400

    There’s not a single living band on the planet that I’d put up with that shit for, you poor, wet puppies. May the chargeback gods be with you.

  63. Tmoney02 says:

    @Carl Everett’s Fossil Collection:
    “Even if you tell them to suck it up and play indoors, the only venue in the area…verizon center”

    From my earlier comment:
    “Its not like they are playing the previous or next show anywhere near DC. They went from the state of North Carolina to DC to Drive all the way out to St. Louis for the next show.

    If they couldn’t book a venue they liked inside the city for Sunday, they could have tacked on a DC date at the end of the tour or even better played it in august when they are playing the rest of the east coast.”

    While I posted to only one post on their blog, they went to the media and talked it up. See one of the resulting articles from the AP:
    AP Article
    Seems they did exact same thing in seattle, choosing a remote location:

    I took three seconds to find this. Just Google “radiohead green” and see all the articles and appearances where they promoted themselves as having a green tour. See Showing up on Conan for Green week and saying they weren’t coming to the show to play live to be green Conan

    I have no problem with them wanting to provide the best possible experience for their fans (something Nissan wouldn’t have done in the best case scenario). I do have a problem with anyone promoting themselves as green(and arguably profiting) and then not actually following through with their talk.

  64. mammalpants says:

    this would have never happened if the record industry was involved.

  65. halftank says:

    Nissan Pavillion is a joke. Any outdoor venue where you’re not allowed to bring your own food, thereby forcing you to buy 7$ cups of shitty beer, can go fuck themselves.

    Wolf Trap is a nice nearby outdoor venue, much closer to town and the Dulles Access Road is right there vs. the 2-lane Gainesville country roads around Nissan. I’m under 60, though, so there’s no one I want to see there.

  66. Lambasted says:

    I think you take a terrible risk attending an outdoor concert that is not protected from the elements. However, last night was more than just a rainy night. I was out in that storm myself and let me tell you, it was a white-knuckle adventure driving through that mess, especially on the Beltway with trucks barreling down on you. Branches blown all over the roads, high winds, torrential rain. I was so relieved to make it home safely I just sat in my car a few seconds to relax for a sec.

    I wouldn’t expect a concert to continue in that mess and was most irresponsible not to cancel it in light of the circumstances. They should do the right thing and refund the money.

  67. FearOfMoon says:

    Lambasted is right about it being a “white-knuckle” nightmare driving home on 66 / The Beltway. It felt like life or death. There was black water you couldn’t see from ten feet away, but when your tires touched it your car skidded. It was easy to imagine losing control and doing a 360-spin across all lanes.

    No one should have been driving in that, and certainly not for a stupid music concert. Nissan should have canceled the show as soon as they heard flood warnings, but they didn’t. Their second opportunity to cancel was when the storms got Biblical-style bad.

    It can only become a P.R. nightmare for Nissan / Ticketmaster (which would be AWESOME) if some major media, beyond blogs, gets a hold of the story. Does anyone know if The Post or any Virginia newspapers are on the story? What about local T.V. news?

  68. Sketchee says:

    I had a great time in the rain! I was the driver and traffic sucked, it was a free for all leaving the place and the parking lot had a dozen “lanes” of traffic trying to fit out of the exits without any type of direction, markers or anything keeping cars in any kind of order. But I approached it with the novelty of it.

    It was only because I had a GPS since the police seemed clueless and understandably miserable. The LED sign leaving the concert said “I-66 straight ahead”, but it wasn’t. Again the GPS saved us after leaving the 711 filled with lost people all looking over maps together and trying to figure out their way.

    @mammalpants: Nissan and the local police seemed to be the ones running things, so I don’t know if the record industry would help with anything except more bureaucracy and higher ticket prices

  69. NissanPavilionSucks says:

    I couldn’t believe that it took as long as it did to get out of the parking lot. I was sure there must have been a giant car accident. We literally did not move one inch for an hour and a half. I was shocked when we finally made our way out to and there wasn’t an accident, or completely flooded out roads, etc. I want to find out who’s in charge of managing the grounds at Nissan and blockade him/her inside his/her house. That was the first time I’d been to Nissan — never again.

  70. DeafChick says:

    The Nissan is not accessible by public transportation and anyone who lives in the DC area knows that.

    My friend couldn’t understand why I would go to Baltimore for a NIN concert instead of the Nissan. Umm you can take the bus there.

  71. brainumbc says:

    I’ve always hated Virginia. Last night was just another experience to back that up. Why oh why couldn’t they have played Merriwether like last time?

    Left Silver Spring at 6pm. What should have been 45 mins took 2 hours just to even get to the EXIT off the 66. Another 1 and 1/4 hour to drive 1 mile to the venue and to get routed around it. My buddy and I hopped out of the car to run to the venue while my fiance parked. We were frozen mud pops by the time we made it in. I couldn’t even bring myself to buy a beer because it would have frozen to my hand. You’d think leaving Silver Spring at 6 would at least get us there BEFORE Radiohead started.. but nope. We walked into the middle of the first part and stayed for about half an hour and just couldn’t take it anymore. My fiance forgot where we left the car so my small group split up and spent an hour trecking through near freezing mud rivers to find our car.

    I never thought waiting over an hour in a car to get out of a parking lot would ever be such heaven. Three of us stripped down and blasted the heat.

    I’ve seen radiohead a couple times before. What really upset me is that it was my buddy’s first time seeing them. Normally their concerts were just brilliant (i.e. 2003 @ Merriwether)… but this was just a complete spoil for him.

    Nissan and Live Nation should be ashamed, ABSOLUTELY ASHAMED of themselves. Rain or shine is one thing. Proceeding with a concert with half the roads getting there are ALREADY flooded and getting worse, and NOT cancelling it is just plain irresponsible.

    It would be nice if Radiohead swung back arounD later this year and reserved tickets for us suckered by Nissan (especially us on the lawn) to purchase before selling to the general public.

    Any place would have been nicer than Nissan. Merriwether is way better than Nissan. RFK has descent sound and metro access.

    There were a million accidents waiting to happen and I’m suprised nothing major happened: Car accident, hypothermia, getting squashed by cars in the lot, drowning in a mud puddle, falling down the waterfall that was supposed to be the stairs to the top of the lawn.

    I’m suprised no one died.

  72. brainumbc says:

    Oh yea and I learned a valuable lesson. Everyone in the DC area should probably invest in a hardcore poncho.

  73. wheelsee says:

    I will say this…I’ve worked at Merriweather for 8 years now and we have never had anything like this go down…I don’t get when people will learn Nissan is a horrible place to go for a concert…while we don’t have any mass transit access(which I will admit is unfortunate) we are across the street from the Mall and a large office park and do have agreements in place to allow our guests to park there…

    Nissan Pavilion is a Clear Chan…er Live Nation Venue…that should tell you everything you need to know right there…

    how a pavilion that was built in the middle of no where in the last 20 years and has no mass transit and a 2 lane road in and out is beyond me…

    next time Radiohead pick a venue nominated numerous times for Best Outdoor Amphitheater by Pollstar


  74. liatard says:

    My fiance, 2 friends, and I were at the show last night. Just like some other people have commented, normally I would never go to a show at Nissan, however, we made the exception for Radiohead. We mapped a route that avoided 66 and managed to get there by 7:30pm. The show was awesome, despite the weather. Worst part of the whole night was sitting in the car for 2.5 hours after the show in a parking lot grid lock. And if I hadn’t been to Nissan before I would think it was due to the flooding, but 3 years ago I saw Coldplay there on a beautiful summer night and had the same problem post show, waiting in grid lock for several hours in the parking lot. I will never EVER go to a show at Nissan ever again.

  75. coren says:

    @Ash78: Out here, we have a “Supermall” (it’s full of clothes stores, doesn’t sound that “super” to me), and they have free transport to the local amphitheater which is 5-10 miles from it, and don’t care if you park there during events.

  76. overbysara says:

    I don’t understand why they didn’t hold the show IN THE CITY since they’re being pro-environment and THE CITY has public transportation when the nissan pavilion is all like… in the boonies.

  77. DAK says:

    I saw Dave Matthews at Nissan once, and never again. It’s an absolute mess, even in good weather. When we tried to leave – halfway through the encore – we were immediately stuck and couldn’t get out for almost 3 hours. Not enough exits from the lots, and way too much traffic for the roads to support. Never, ever go to Nissan Pavilion.

  78. wontonenigma says:

    Last time I tried to see Radiohead in DC, it was 2001 and at the Bull Run Civil War battlefield in VA. It rained so hard the day of the concert, that the stage sank into the field and everything was canceled.

    History repeats itself.

  79. Zach Everson says:

    I had a miserable time going to and getting home from Nissan Pavilion when I went there a year or so ago and pledged never again. Radiohead got me to break that pledge. This time, however, when I say “never again,” I mean it.

  80. rensilan says:

    Radiohead’s music was brilliant. The venue was ridiculous, and the cops were beyond incompetent. We reached Wellington Road, only to find it was flooded out, and saw that the recommended “detour” ran straight away from the venue. Thank god for my iphone–we circled back around to Route 29 and approached the venue from the north and made it in by the fifth song. Soaked and cold, but ultimately happy.

    Radiohead itself seems to have gotten stuck–they didn’t leave the venue until 3 am, according to their website.

    It would be great if you all could harness your frustration to write a letter to Radiohead explaining that in the U.S., the same ridiculous land-use planning that has given rise to endless sprawl and massive per-capita gas consumption also creates misery at many lovely outdoor venues. The most environmentally friendly thing for them to do is to choose venues with access to public transportation and to let the word out that they prefer such venues. They struck fear into the hearts of record label executives everywhere when they successfully published In Rainbows online–that was brilliant. There has to be some similar way to exert pressure on the Live Nation/Clear Channel/Ticket Master cabal.

    Meanwhile, some ways to complain:
    Nissan Pavillion email:

    Nissan Pavillion’s sales folks who seek corporate sponsors:
    (email them and tell them what a disaster this was for their image, and that few corporations would want to be associated with this).

    Nissan Consumer Affairs
    P.O. Box 685003
    Franklin TN 37068-5003
    1 800 647 7261
    8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.,
    Eastern / Central Time / Pacific Time
    Monday through Friday

    Nissan email contact form:
    (to “send a question or comment to Nissan.”)

    Prince William County Executive
    Mr. Craig S. Gerhart
    1 County Complex Court
    Prince William, Virginia 22192

  81. KidA70 says:

    Utterly crushed. Was looking forward to this for months. Allowed an extra 2 hours drive time for an hour trip and arrived ON TIME at the Nissan exit 44. Proceeded to sit for almost 3 hours within a mile of the venue only to be turned away once I reached the lot at 1015. PIT seats totally wasted, 7 hours of drive time with no show and the heart of a Radiohead fan totally broken. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try to accomodate us in some way. It’s not the cost of the tickets or the day totally wasted. I’d gladly take a ticket to another show and I’ll get there no matter the distance. Nissan Pavillion should be ashamed. Not just because thousands of paid ticketholders didn’t make the show because of their inane planning. They also put thousands more at risk of danger driving in hazardous conditions on flooded roads. Rain or Shine is one thing. Flood warnings all over the state and appeals from local officials not to drive is another. It should have been rescheduled. But that’s a new discussion entirely…

  82. PeterJagabat says:

    Holy horse crap! Radiohead is, I do not exaggerate, my favorite band
    and I have been TWICE denied the pleasure of seeing them in Northern
    Virginia. It was an epic adventure with four accidents along the way
    from Baltimore City only to be led along a painfully slow wild goose
    chase curtesy of the Virigina Police and Nissan Pavillion. I am
    bitterly disgusted with having been in my car for 8 strait hours in the
    pouring rain. I will NEVER EVER NEVER buy a ticket to a Nissan Show
    again. I will encourage Radiohead to NEVER perform there again. My
    only consolation is that I won my tickets on the radio, but it is of
    little consequence as I would have bought tickets had I not one. I’d
    rather drive all the way to NYC to see them than at Nissan again. Heck,
    by the time you get in and out of Nissan, you’ve already spent about ten
    hours anyway.

    Brad J. Ranno

  83. theravenfakeaccount says:

    @rensilan: Thanks for the info, I’m definitely complaining. Google Maps on my Blackberry saved us too, what terrible traffic direction and detouring. I will never go there again. The situation was handled poorly and resulted in dangerous conditions for all of us there. I’m surprised no one fell down the waterfalls. Oh wait, those were stairs.

  84. Lynchie says:

    Paying a ridiculous amount of money for tickets on E-bay, the 4 HOUR LONG drive to Nissan Pavilion in a Freakish Flood, missing the first 7 songs of the show, getting COMPLETELY drenched while running from the car to catch the remainder of the show, standing in the freezing rain at a venue with a lame ten o’clock last call, losing feeling in all limbs, getting home at 3 in the morning, losing my voice

    All worth it because they played Paranoid Android. Wooooooooow. The whole show was unbelievable. I will be smiling for weeks.

    I am never going to Nissan again.

  85. mizsakura says:

    This is an e-mail I just received from Nissan Pavilion’s customer service. So, they want me to drive to Camden, NJ for lawn tickets? So, they want me to spend additional funds to see a concert on them. How generous (sarcasm)

    Hi [Name],

    Thank you for contacting Nissan Pavilion regarding your experience on Sunday night. Due to the torrential rain storm, multiple road closures and a late-arriving crowd led to delays for some music fans entering the parking lot at Nissan Pavilion. While we have no control over Mother Nature, we certainly are disappointed that some fans did not make it to the venue.

    As a consolation, we would like to offer you complementary lawn tickets to Radiohead?s performance at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ on August 12th. We apologize for any inconvenience you experienced Sunday night and hope that this free ticket offer helps to make up for it.

  86. themediatrix says:

    It’s possible RadioHead will help Nissan make good.

    I was at the Tibetan Freedom Fest at RFK in the late 90’s when that girl got struck by lightning and the concert was a washout.

    Later (I can’t remember if it was the same night) they played a “secret” free concert for the first five hundred who showed up with their Fest stubs.

    My b-friend at the time was really connected to the club and we got in first — “Get down to the club. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but something is, so get down their and get in line NOW, I’ll meet you there…” — So completely front row access.

    It was the most AWESOME show I’ve ever seen. Intimate and amazing. AND 9:30 sounds great. (At least it used to.)

  87. mirrorball says:

    At the moment, Nissan Pavilion/Live Nation is offering disgruntled customers free lawn tickets to the Aug. 12 show in Camden NJ. Of course, I had reserved seats for the Nissan Pavilion show. But who knows, maybe Camden won’t as long to get to.

  88. theravenfakeaccount says:

    @mirrorball: Is this why they took my name and number? Or do I need to do something else.

  89. boobaloob says:

    I live in Chicago, so this show wasn’t even on my radar, but to those of you saying “dude, the show was amazing; you should have gotten there earlier — it’s all your fault!” — please shut the hell up. I highly doubt that the people who were affected by this want to read your boasting or chastising.

  90. This kind of happened to us…I paid for 20$ VIP parking @ Verizon Amp. in Charlotte. They had barely any signs telling you where to go so we just pulled in the closest parking lot since there really wasn’t a choice, the traffic was directed that way. Upon going in, the guy said it was on the other side of the amphitheater, but the gates to leave the lot were LOCKED CLOSED. Meaning you couldn’t go out. Isn’t that some sort of a fire hazard? We didn’t care, went in anyway. The downside is, when we left, it took 1.5 hours to leave the lot even though the exit was like 15 cars away. ONE exit for hundreds of cars. Nice. We almost went to the DC show, I’m glad we didn’t. It sprinkled for about 5 minutes.

  91. moclippa says:

    I was involved in this. We spent 2 hours in traffic trying to get to the turn off to the pavilion, we’d left early so the opening band Liars was still playing by the time we took the 44 exit. We then found that the main road to the Nissan Pavilion was flooded, and we were detoured along with bumper to bumper traffic for 3 hours to get to the show. When we finally reached the entrance to the parking lot, we were told that Radiohead was on their encore, and that we should turn around and leave.

    The organizers took down my phone number when I called the next day, and got in contact with me a few days later regarding the options for reimbursement. A) Accept tickets to the Lawn at a Radiohead show in New Jersey in August… or B) Accept tickets to another Live Nation show instead, given availability. I had to reject both these offers as I am moving out of the country in a few weeks to live in Europe for my Masters. The lady who offered those two choices said that if that was the case, she was putting me on a list of people who wanted a refund, and that she would get back in touch. It is now May 18th and I still have not received word regarding the refund, though I am going to give them another week before I call back again.