Thousands stranded at Clear Channel-sponsered concert

kingchuck69

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Oct 11, 2008
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Thousands stranded at B93 Birthday Bash

Cars stranded at
Birthday Bash
State police told concert-goers to
abandon cars

Updated: Sunday, 21 Jun 2009, 12:06 AM EDT
Published : Saturday, 20 Jun 2009, 6:02 PM EDT

* Terri DeBoer
* Marc Thompson

IONIA CO., Mich. (WOOD) - Rapidly rising waters from the Grand River flooded the B-93 Birthday Bash in Ionia County, temporarily stranding thousands of concert-goers, submerging scores of cars and injuring more than a dozen people.

Flooding and the potential of more flooding forced cancellation of Day 2 of the B93 Birthday Bash.

About 130 people are currently in an emergency shelter at Ionia Middle School on Union Street.

The American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids set up the shelter for the approx. 1,000 evacuees from the B-93 Birthday Bash in Ionia. A team of 12 Red Cross volunteers are managing the shelter.

The shelter has food, water and other provisions for people who have no way to leave the concert venue after being asked to abandon their cars in the grass parking lots near the county fairground

The concert-goers became stranded at the Ionia County fairgrounds after a stretch of the Grand River rose Saturday, cutting off exits to parking area for thousands.

It's the sixth time since Christmas the Ionia County fairgrounds have flooded.

Michigan State Police evacuated the area and asked everyone at the concert to grab essentials from their cars and abandon the vehicles until a later date.

Dozens of medical personnel responded, and over a dozen people have been treated for minor injuries. Search teams are combing the area to make sure no one is lost.

"The situation is improving greatly," said David Bolling, the Ionia public safety director. He said they "probably transported around 4, 000 - 5,000 people" who mostly walked through water and out to safer places.

"We knew we had a heavy rainfall last night," he told 24 Hour News 8, and they were aware of a water release from the heavy rains Friday night. "We knew we had to monitor the situation."

A spokesman for Consumers Energy said "the dam is kept at a constant level," and the release of the water is in compliance with federal and state laws. The spokesman said the water release had to take place when it did.

The spokesman was not aware of any miscommunication between officials and representatives of B-93.

24 Hour News 8 talked with many concertgoers, and not all of them were upset.. Many, in fact, seemed to roll with it.

Many also took pictures of the event and uploaded them, like Dan Hughes.

There will be no events on Sunday. Police say do not go to the concert, and even if you have family there, do not go to the concert. B-93 will have more information on Sunday and Monday.

Storm Team 8 said the heavy rainfall Friday led to flash flooding across a large part of West Michigan into early Saturday morning. Now that flash flood waters have receded, that excess of water is making its way into major rivers, like the Grand River. Also contributing to this flooding, authorities are releasing extra water from the Webber Dam, upstream near Portland.

While the Grand River is technically below flood stage, infrequently used areas in and around the Ionia County Fairgrounds are now being covered with flood waters.

At 7 p.m. Saturday night, the river level is at 16.9 feet. Flood Stage is 21 feet. The river will continue to rise about one additional foot by Sunday afternoon, putting additional terrain under shallow floodwater.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for the Grand River in Ionia.

A flood advisory means minor flooding is possible and rivers are forecast to exceed the banks.

The advisory is in effect until Friday morning, or until it is cancelled. The river is expected to begin a slow fall Sunday night.

==========

Concert attendees at the B-93 Birthday Bash, a multi-act country music concert called 24 Hour News 8 and said concert organizers are not letting people back into the concert venue, and that there is no food, water, or toilet facilities in the parking area that's now completely cut off by the rising water.

Storm Team 8's Terri DeBoer is at the concert ( follow her Twitter live here ). She says the music at the concert has stopped and organizers are trying to determine whether or not to take down the stage.

24 Hour News 8 has reports that everyone is being asked to leave the fairgrounds even though cars cannot leave the parking area.

Several cars are at least partially underwater, and there are reports of some cars being completely submerged.

24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this story, and post developments as they happen.

If you're stranded at the concert, you can check updates on your mobile device at live8.com .

If you're stuck at the concert, send us cell phone pictures or information to newsroom@woodtv.com. Or upload them directly to POSTED
 

kingchuck69

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Oct 11, 2008
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The latest regarding the hickfest...

B93 Birthday Bash cars stuck til Wed.

B93 Birthday Bash cars
stuck til Wed.
Attendees evacuated, cars abandoned

Updated: Sunday, 21 Jun 2009, 5:10 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 21 Jun 2009, 10:16 AM EDT

* Jessica Leffler

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) - It could be mid-week before hundreds of cars trapped by water at the Ionia County Fairgrounds are able to be removed, according to officials from Ionia County and Clear Channel Radio.

Thousands of people were trapped when water from the Webber Dam was diverted due to the torrential rains Friday night. The Ionia County Fairgrounds flooded early Saturday evening, forcing the evacuation of the concert and an emergency shelter set up.

There are at least several hundred cars trapped south of the Grand River, and another 100 or more in other spots, said Tim Feagan, the vice president of Clear Channel Grand Rapids, and Jason Eppler, the Ionia city manager.

The river won't recede until around Wednesday, and the city is working on a plan with Clear Channel to help get the cars out, Eppler said.

"Around 4 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service said we were in a safe place," said Feagan, adding he was told the river would crest around 13.5 feet. "We were in good shape."

Officials were in touch with Consumers Energy employees about the dam in Lansing, Eppler said.

"I think there was some conversations with public safety personal and reps from Consumers," he said. "Just as water came up here, much faster than we anticipated, I'm sure that happened upstream for Consumers as well."

Consumers Energy representatives told 24 Hour News 8 they had to release the dam in compliance with federal and state laws.

"The problems that took place on the south lot began around 11:30 a.m. We stopped parking cars and brought gravel in to stem the water," one said. "We hoped that we'd be able to bring in enough gravel, but the water overtook us."

Said Eppler: There was an "ongoing evaluation beginning Friday evening. We did not want to risk personal safety. We collectively made the decision. The river came up much higher than even the National Weather Service anticipated."

He understands "that people want their vehicles, and we're working to get them out as soon as possible, but we don't want to rush it either. We don't want to put them in an unsafe situation."

The latest information on the car removal will be posted on b93.com , Feagan said.

"It doesn't make sense to point fingers," Eppler said. "It was just an act of God."
 

limegrass69

Confused
Oct 12, 2008
6,079
245
63
New York
That sucks for those people.

RADIO GEEK ALERT:

The station hosting the event B93 (WBCT) has one of the highest powered FM authorizations in North America with 320,000 watts at almost 800 feet.
 

blyons200

These pretzels are making me thirsty.
Oct 12, 2008
8,449
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That does suck.

I saw the same rain in Chicago on Friday. I saw cars stranded all over the place. Intersections and parking lots. It was bad. Traffice was messed up bad. I had an SUV and drove through and intersection with a couple small cars stranded in it, very slowly. When I went by the the waves I made actually pushed those cars a foot or two. It was almost too deep for my Ford Escape. If I would of waited much longer it would of been. It was up to the bottom of the doors.
 

TheScionicMan

Last non-Hating Stern Fan
Oct 11, 2008
2,171
93
48
RADIO GEEK ALERT:

The station hosting the event B93 (WBCT) has one of the highest powered FM authorizations in North America with 320,000 watts at almost 800 feet.

 

Steel Cranium

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2008
1,004
49
48
NorthEast Ohio
The latest regarding the hickfest...

...and the city is working on a plan with Clear Channel to help get the cars out

Wonderful. Let's see what the nearly bankrupt clear channel can do. If we had the money, we could......

"It doesn't make sense to point fingers," Eppler said. "It was just an act of God."

That's what they get for listening to country music GOD HAS SPOKEN!!!! ... and he isn't "a little bit country"
 

TheScionicMan

Last non-Hating Stern Fan
Oct 11, 2008
2,171
93
48
Geez, and I was upset that I had to park in the dirt when we went to see Heart last week...
 

kingchuck69

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Oct 11, 2008
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Hydrologist river info was out there

Hydrologist: river info
'was out there'
Updated forecast before parking began
at B93 Bash

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Jun 2009, 6:34 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 23 Jun 2009, 6:30 PM EDT

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) - The Grand River is still over its banks at the Ionia County fairgrounds. It crested, but it will still be several days before the water is back to its normal levels.

"In the Holland area, we had an excess rainfall of over a 100-year event," said National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Walton. He said the rain came "right up the Grand River, and later came into Ionia."

The National Weather Service said they were not in contact with B93 Birthday Bash organizers when they realized on Saturday morning the river would flood.

"We were communicating the best we could to emergency management with what we knew at the time," Walton said, "and I don't know how that played out between emergency officials and B93."

Reps with B93 said they followed the weather service forecast from Friday night and in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning.

Meteorologists with National Weather Service said they changed the forecast an hour after that last check.

"It's on the web, the Internet. It's unfortunate that folks were surprised, because if you knew where to go, and what pages to look at, the information was out there," Walton told 24 Hour News 8 . "We had updated forecasts for this event at five o'clock in the morning."

Walton pointed to a National Geological Service gauge that measures water levels of the river. "During the critical time, the time they were taking care of parking and all that stuff, the river was rising more than a half a foot per hour. It's normal rise is about a tenth of a foot per hour. So it was rising, literally, five times faster than normal."

The NWS said rain fell almost directly over and upstream of the Grand River, and it wasn't the Webber Dam in Ionia County to blame for the additional water.

It was "the contribution of the Maple River," he said.

Meanwhile...

B93 towing plans to be announced Wed.

B93 towing plans to be
announced Wed.
Date of towing not yet confirmed

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Jun 2009, 11:49 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 23 Jun 2009, 7:07 PM EDT

* Marc Thompson

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - On Wednesday, Ionia Public Safety will unveil its plan for towing the flooded B93 Birthday Bash vehicles. There are more than 1,000 stranded at the Ionia County Fairgrounds.

The plan will be announced at 3 p.m. at Ionia City Hall.

Reed & Hoppes hopes to be involved in the towing process.

The company was contacted by the Clear Channel officials in charge of car removal, but will not learn any specific details until Wednesday's announcement.

Reed & Hoppes, which is located in Portland and Ionia, has 25 trucks, including different sized wreckers and flat beds.

But Clear Channel, which owns B93, has not finalized anything, and said other bids are being considered.

One thing is certain: The towing will not begin until the water recedes and conditions are safe, Clear Channel officials say.

The Ionia County Fairgrounds flooded early Saturday evening, forcing the evacuation of the B93 Birthday Bash.

The Ionia County Commission held its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, but B93 flooding was not on the agenda.

For Sherry Swearingen, of Grand Rapids, the situation is frustrating.

She rode with friends and family from Grand Rapids to Ionia on Tuesday to try and see her car, which has been in the fairgrounds parking lot for three days.

"We're not sure how much water damage is done," she said. "We've been trying to look with binoculars and see, but no luck. I have contacted my insurance company and they want me to take it to a garage when I get it out," she said.

Officials at Clear Channel say B93 was responsible for running the parking lot and all the parking fees collected went to the station. They are offering refunds, you can visit their Web site for details.

Ionia County Fairgrounds will be cleaned up by the city, according to the county administrator. But the county is available to assist, if needed.

===
 

kingchuck69

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Oct 11, 2008
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Oh, noes! B93's getting their poor asses sued.... BIG TIME.

Class action lawsuit filed against B93

Class action lawsuit
filed against B93
Suit stems from flooding at B93
Birthday Bash

Updated: Friday, 17 Jul 2009, 7:07 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 17 Jul 2009, 6:46 PM EDT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A class action lawsuit has been filed against Clear Channel Communications over the flooding that enveloped more than 1,000 vehicles at the B93 Birthday Bash.

Anthony Hansknecht filed the suit in Ionia County Circuit Court on Friday. Hansknecht alleges the radio station was negligent regarding parking for the outdoor concert, did not monitor weather forecasts properly and failed to warn concertgoers.

He also claims B93 engaged in willful and wanton misconduct because the station officials had the ability to avoid the problem and didn't.

The third count in the lawsuit is the class action. That is, "the class of individual owners of the damaged vehicles is too numerous for joinder of all members individually to be practicable."

Clear Channel Communications, the owner of B93, has 21 days to respond to the lawsuit.

24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this case.