Juanes’ free concert at New York’s Central Park was abruptly canceled due to a massive security risk yesterday (July 12).
Although the SummerStage venue has a capacity for 5,000 fans, over 12,000 additional concertgoers gathered outside, with some attempting to force their way in. Juanes was made aware of a situation mid-song and told the crowd, “We need to be calm because if we’re not calm, they’re gonna cancel the concert, because a lot of people got stuck outside without being let in.”
The escalating situation prompted organizers and the NYPD to deem it a security risk and pulled the plug on the show. “During the performance of his second song, with continued crowds at the gates and out of an abundance of caution, the show was halted and fans were asked to leave the venue,” said Heather Lubov, Executive Director at City Parks Foundation SummerStage via statement. “For the first time in 30 years, SummerStage was required to stop a concert in progress for a non-weather related issue.”
“I’m very sad because we couldn’t finish our show, but safety will always be important to us,” said Juanes in a video on Twitter. “I hope to be able to see you all soon.”
Although the security concerns surrounding the cancellation were justified, numerous people are weighing in on social media to highlight the underestimation of an artist of Juanes’ caliber, suggesting that a larger venue should have been chosen to accommodate the immense crowds he typically draws.“Very disrespectful of SummerStage to end Juanes’ concert in Central Park after 2 songs because they underestimated the amount of Latinos that would show up to this free concert,” wrote one fan on Twitter. “Like c’mon, he’s an international legend.”
“It looks like [the city of New York] underestimated Latin American artists again,” said Twitter user Jo Luehmann. “There are thousands of people in Central Park trying to get to see Juanes but they can’t let anybody else in and are trying to clear the space.”
“I was there at 3pm hoping to get a spot and the people just kept arriving,” said another Juanes fan. “As a native New Yorker, I just left cuz I knew this would happen. Juanes is a big star for such a small venue.”
“This is what y’all made us miss,” said another fan attaching a photo of what would’ve been on Juanes’ setlist that night, including songs from his latest album Vida Cotidiana.
It’s worth noting that last month, additional crowd control measures were required for Karol G’s free “The Today Show” performance in New York City, which attracted a record-breaking 15,000 spectators. Looking ahead, it is crucial for concert organizers to secure appropriate venues for large Latine acts like Juanes to ensure that fans can fully experience the performances without the security risks caused by inadequate planning.