Stadium Lifts Seating Ban for Bruce

By | August 7, 2002 at 12:00 AM

A ban on the festival-seating arrangement that contributed to a fatal 1979 stampede at a Cincinnati arena will be lifted for a Bruce Springsteen concert this fall, officials said.

Springsteen requested that the city reinstate general-admission seating for his Nov. 12 concert at U.S. Bank Arena. Managers of the venue said they were eager to try it anyway to compete with arenas in other cities that allow the arrangement for top acts.

Eleven people were trampled to death Dec. 3, 1979, when fans rushed the doors at the arena – then known as Riverfront Coliseum – for a concert by The Who. Cincinnati later banned festival seating, allowing reserved seats only, and implemented new crowd control measures.

Cincinnati police gave permission for the variance at the Springsteen concert. Tickets go on sale Saturday.

“They’re not a crowd likely to get rowdy and cause trouble,” police spokesman Lt. Kurt Byrd said. “He draws a generally well-behaved crowd.”

General admission floor seating will represent about 1,800 of the arena’s 17,200-seat capacity for the concert, with the rest sold as reserved seats, Byrd said.

But the consultant who recommended safety improvements after studying the 1979 stampede opposes lifting the festival-seating ban at the arena where the deaths occurred.

“People all the time forget the lessons of the past,” said Paul Wertheimer, a Chicago-based consultant.

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