Urban Music Festival leads to large crowd, assaults

This teen crowd surfing was one of the tamer moments of the show, concert-goers said.

Close to 50,000 people gathered at City Hall Plaza Saturday to see rap artist Mac Miller perform at the annual Urban Music Festival, which prompted “riots,” according to the rapper’s Twitter page. 

Miller’s music is known for lyrics about smoking marijuana and wearing Nike shoes, a contrast to Mayor Thomas Menino’s recent conflict with NikeTown to remove a T-shirt display that allegedly promoted drug use.

Since 2004, the free Urban Music Festival, sponsored by Menino, was used as an attempt to promote peace and was called “Peace Hip-Hop Festival.”

This year, a spokesperson in the arts, tourism and special events department in the mayor’s office told the Globe they changed the name to reach a wider audience.

She also said the venue was family-friendly and “for self-expression in a safe and controlled environment.”

According to Miller’s tweets following the show, fans began rioting in the streets.

A Boston Police spokesman said increased police presence was needed in the Downtown Crossing area due to the large crowd, but said no actual rioting occurred.

Police did say, however, that someone reported being robbed after the show.

A spokesman from the MBTA said detectives are investigating various assaults that occurred at T stations, because of “large groups of disorderly youths on the subway and commuter rail systems.”
Other tweeters reported fights near City Hall and several videos, now removed from YouTube, showed fans throwing punches in broad daylight.

No arrests were reported at the concert, a police spokesman said, but an announcer had to interrupt the show to ask concert-goers to stop throwing bottles at one another and “stop being disrespectful.”

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.


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