18,000 Expected to Attend All Day Merriweather Concert
Howard County Police are preparing for dense traffic Tuesday for the The Vans Warped Tour.
Columbia is one of more than 40 stops on the tour, and will feature more than 80 bands on Tuesday. Since 1995, the tour has become known for introducing punk rock and alternative bands, and has started to include some hip-hop and electronic acts.
As with most concerts and festivals, Howard County Police are preparing for dense traffic near Columbia Town Center for much of the day. The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
"This is an all-day show and that usually helps stagger the traffic," said HCPD Captain John McKissick. "We would encourage pedestrians to only cross at designated cross walks and ask drivers to slow down and put away their cell phones."
Event organizers are also hoping the timing of the event will help minimize the flow of concert traffic.
"We're not expecting the event to be a problem for people," said Audrey Schaefer, a spokeswoman for Merriweather Post Pavilion. "It begins after the rush hour traffic and ends at night time, when people are home from work."
McKissick said 15 officers will be directing traffic near venue entrances at Broken Land Parkway and Little Patuxent Parkway. Approximately 25 officers will be at the venue providing security, and nine plain-clothes officers will be patrolling the parking lot and concert grounds to crack down on underage drinking and drug usage, according to McKissisk.
McKissick said police do not anticipate the number of drug violations that accompany events like Phish concerts, which racked up 21 drug-related arrests last year, but police will be working to keep concert-goers and residents safe.
Weather.com is forecasting partly cloudy day with a high of 93, so emergency personnel will be on-hand in case people suffer symptoms of heat-related illness.
"We will be very concerned about heat-related health issues," McKissick said. "The Department of Fire and Rescue will be on scene and prepared for this type of injury."