Hundreds of homecoming attendees, upset that they could not get into Friday’s annual Yardfest homecoming concert at Howard University, rushed the gates, injuring eight people, including two D.C. police officers, according to school and law enforcement officials.
Keith St. Clair, a spokesman for the deputy mayor of public safety, said most of the injuries were minor. All of the victims were taken to hospitals.
For at least two decades, Yardfest was free and open to the public, making it one of the hallmark events of Howard’s homecoming weekend. But this year, organizers made the concert a ticketed event, charging $5 for each patron.
Kerry-Ann Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Howard, said school officials and the D.C. fire marshal determined that 14,000 people could safely attend the event. In years past, Hamilton said, authorities did not enforce limits on crowd size. This year, the concert sold out Thursday.
Hamilton said that most of the people left outside the closed gates did not have tickets, though it was possible some ticketed patrons got caught in the raucous group. Video posted on the Internet showed young people crowding a gate and some climbing over walls to get inside.
The concert started again about 4:30 p.m. with a performance by Detroit rapper Big Sean.
Juicy J and A$AP Ferg were set to perform, but the concert ended shortly after 6 p.m. without no performance by the two.