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AmericaJR.com's Coverage of the 26th Annual Downtown Hoedown

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Local News

Tuesday, 13 May, 2008 12:54 PM

Exclusive: Security Problems at the 2008 Downtown Hoedown

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Exposed: This security guard was seen telling fans to "keep moving" after the area in front of the stage was opened and then closed after a few songs.

by Jason A. Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

DETROIT -- AmericaJR.com received an e-mail from Cat Romas, a country music fan who attended the Downtown Hoedown this past weekend. She just came to have a good time and enjoy some music by The Road Hammers, a Canadian band. One of the band members asked security to open the gate in front of the stage so fans could get a better view of their performance. Romas ran to the newly-opened area to get a closer view.

After a few songs, security forced everyone to go back to their former viewing spots. Meanwhile, Romas was pushed into the cement wall with a metal fence and fell backwards over some stage cables. Then, she was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital where she spent four hours that she could've spent at the Hoedown enjoying music if it wasn't for the rude security personnel.

In an exclusive e-mail sent to AmericaJR.com, country music fan Cat Romas shares her experience at the Downtown Hoedown:

"Dear Sir,

My name is Cat Romas. Just for info purposes: I can't, and don't, drink, smoke (anything), nor do drugs, because of the prescription meds I do have to take. This is my 'sad' story. I was in the very front middle part of the upper stage, standing up against a cement wall, when The Road Hammers were playing. This was my first Hoedown. I was so excited and having such a good time. I'm kind of a recluse and this Hoedown was the first place I've gone to enjoy myself since the summer of 2004.

I had seen a Hoedown worker (red shirt) open the metal fence; across the crowd stage left. I was only about 15 ft. from the fence by the stage right, which I immediately ran to when I saw another worker had opened that fence! I was paying attention to the stage when I felt crowded, so I backed up, went around the people to my right, and again to the cement wall.

A huge man in a dark blue shirt got right into my face and told me that if I didn't start moving I'd be kicked out of the park. I looked at him shocked, because I had no idea what was going on. Did I do something wrong? I'm not used to crowds, nor socializing, so I got kind of confused. He kept giving me these hateful looks, which made me feel horrible. He was extremely threatening towards me with his dreadful looks, while leaning in toward my face, and his words.

I kept asking him what was happening, and he kept saying 'keep moving'. He then waved his hand toward some other workers, and they picked up the metal fence; using it like an attack barrier from 'Riot Control'! I was keeping my eyes on the stage and these mean men, at the same time, when all of the sudden the upper part of my back smashed into the cement wall I'd been slowly walking beside.

I had fallen backwards over a bunch of stage cables while being rudely pushed away from having the time of my life. A nice worker and a woman in the crowd had both reached a hand out to me. Though I was hesident, I took each of the out stretched hands after a moment, and was helped up.

I arrived at the Hoedown around 04:30, or so, yet at 06:18 I was in an ambulance on the way to the Detroit Receiving Hospital. I spent over 4 hours there; verbal exams, cat scans, and x-rays. Everyone was fairly nice, though I didn't care for the bad language, nor all the negative talk about the Hoedown. I felt a little alienated, yet not as much as I did from those men who treated me as if I were some kind of criminal.

I guess the most exciting thing I'll ever do from now on is go grocery shopping, which I hate so much that I follow a strict list, so I can get out as soon as posible. I'd like it if someone would put this letter in the public eyes. Maybe they should move the Hoedown to a contest winning Midwest city that really wants us rednecks - we'll all move there!

Thanks for the ear,
Cat Romas
"

AmericaJR.com was there when the incident happened. We actually spoke with the band that was performing on the main stage at the time, The Road Hammers.

"Two years ago, Clayton had a great idea," said Jason McCoy of the Canadian country band The Road Hammers.

"He pulled the barriers down and everybody came up front and rushed to the stage. Security guys loved it. The only difference I found this year is that the crowds were even bigger. There was even more people kinda rushed to the stage and security was more worried than last time. I noticed that. Security wasn't sure of what they were gettin' a hold of or what they're gettin' in for."

Members of the AmericaJR.com Web Team were escorted out unfairly

AmericaJR.com has been covering the Downtown Hoedown since 2001. In 2003, we were granted an all-access pass to cover the festival and were very grateful. From 2004 until 2006, we received a limited access pass. It meant we could go to some areas that the fans couldn't but also meant we couldn't go backstage.

We are a member of the Detroit media just like the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Channels 2, 4 and 7. We are one of the official media sites for Detroit on Google News. We have never came to the Hoedown to do any harm or cause any disturbances.

For whatever reason, we haven't received media credentials for the last two years. However, we still have a commitment to our visitors to cover the Downtown Hoedown music festival. Keep in mind that the Downtown Hoedown is a FREE outdoor music festival open to the public. The organizer of the Hoedown, WYCD Radio, is treating the festival such as a closed, private, invite-only event.

We received word that WYCD sent a letter to record labels, tour managers and agents that our site is fake. This letter also indicated that these individuals should not do business with us. It is one thing to deny us a media credential but it is not OK to say false rumors about our site. We understand completely that they are the official radio sponsor of the festival. They have their sponsors and we have sponsors for our coverage as well. There is no reason why AmericaJR.com shouldn't be able to cover the Hoedown, with a media pass or not.

Under the First Amendment of the Constitution, the Freedom of the Press states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Three members of the AmericaJR.com Web Team attended the 2008 Downtown Hoedown on Friday. Their goal was to take pictures and conduct interviews at the festival. Security personnel rounded them up and escorted them out of the festival. Not only that, one of them was followed to their car.

In addition, I was about to get a photograph with one of the stars next to the GAC Tour Bus. Rissi Palmer and I were already standing next to each other. I handed my camera over to a man who was working for GAC to take the picture. One of the security ladies dressed in a red coat put her hand in front of my camera and said "you're not allowed to be here." As a member of the media or just a regular person, what's wrong with getting a picture with a musician? I never did get the picture, by the way.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

So, I guess you want to see The Road Hammers. Here you go. It's not their fault.

 

 

 

 

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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.

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