Saturday, February 8, 2014
ATLANTA (AP) — A century-old concert hall in downtown Atlanta was being inspected by engineers Saturday -- and postponed at least one show -- after fans were evacuated during a Friday night rock concert.
Panic! at the Disco was performing Friday night when the floor of The Tabernacle was deemed unsafe, Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones said. A fire marshal evacuated the building shortly before 10:30 p.m.
Concert-goers at the sold-out show say the problem left the floor at a different angle then when they had arrived.
"The floor was flat when we walked in, and when we were walking out it was like walking up a slight hill," said Chelle Leary, 15, of Roswell, Ga. No injuries were reported.
Security guards first moved fans away from the "pit" area in front of the stage, Leary said. Then they evacuated everyone from the building, she said.
Leary's mother, Dorie Griggs, arrived shortly after fans were evacuated.
"There was just a ton of people walking, no one was panicking and a lot of their fans were singing their songs," Griggs recalls.
Structural engineers were at the building Saturday and planning their next steps, the Tabernacle said in a statement. "The safety of every fan, performer and crew member at the Tabernacle is our top priority," it said.
The building opened in 1910 as a religious hall. Over the years, it has been home to the Georgia Baptist Medical Center and Nursing School; and the 4,000-member Third Baptist Church, according to its website.
It was converted to a House of Blues club around the time of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and is now operated by Live Nation.
Last year, from April 1-4, TV entertainer Conan O'Brien produced his shows inside the Tabernacle.
Singer-songwriter Corey Smith was scheduled for perform Saturday night and told fans his concert has been rescheduled for May 10. The Tabernacle said tickets to Smith's planned Saturday show will be honored in May.
"Sorry for those who made travel plans. It was going to be a huge, sold-out show," Smith wrote on his Facebook page. "I'm as disappointed as anyone but thankful the problem was discovered and no one got hurt. It's the right call. It's just one of those things no one could have predicted."