Bruce Springsteen Had Run Over Curfew At 'Hard Rock Calling' Gig

The dispute over who pulled the plug on Bruce Springsteen's Hyde Park show took a new twist today, as the Health and Safety Executive denies any involvement in the decision to close the show.

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Health and safety officials have said that concert promoter Live Nation was "disingenuous" for citing health and safety concerns for pulling the plug on Bruce Springsteen's headline set at Hard Rock Calling on Saturday night (July 14).

The Boss brought the second night of the Hyde Park festival to a close with a 29-song set which lasted over three hours. When Paul McCartney joined Springsteen onstage at the end to perform 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'Twist And Shout', the rock legends' microphones were switched off before they had chance to thank the crowd because Springsteen had already run over curfew.

A statement from concert promoters Live Nation said that they pulled the plug in the "interest of the public's health and safety". However, Kevin Myers, deputy chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive (who was at the gig on Saturday) has said that this was not the case. In a post on the HSE's website, he wrote:

"The fans deserve the truth: there are no health and safety issues involved here. While public events may have licensing conditions dictating when they should end, this is not health and safety and it is disingenuous of Live Nation to say so."

Live Nation's Chief Operating Officer for Europe, Paul Latham, defended the promoter's decision to pull the plug on the gig, saying that to continue hosting concerts in one of London's most exclusive neighborhoods, the company has to agree to a strict 10:30pm noise curfew with local authorities:

"For the last 12 months we have been fighting the good fight with the Local Authority and their licensing teams to retain the ability to stage concerts in Hyde Park," he wrote. "The current licences were granted on very strict noise restrictions, traffic plans and curfews with the sword of Damocles hanging over any future events if we broke any of the conditions." He added: "Suffice to say the residents of Park Lane and Mayfair may not be numerous but they wield inordinate power over the Gogs and Magogs of City Hall and Parliament".

The decision prompted consternation on Twitter, with Springsteen's guitarist Steven Van Zandt leading a chorus of disapproval. He wrote: "Is there just too much fun in the world? We would have been off by 11 if we'd done one more. On a Saturday night! Who were we disturbing?"

Mayor of London Boris Johnson also joined the calls of dismay, saying that he believed the pair should have been allowed to continue and joked that he would have said for them "to jam in the name of the Lord!"

Thanks to NME for the report.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I was there on Saturday, and I've honestly never seen anything as shambolic as the ending of this show. The disrespect given to Bruce was disgusting. He was playing with one of his heroes and to cut it short like that was pathetic. When Springsteen, McCartney, John Fogerty, Tom Morello and the E Street Band are on stage at the same time you let them play for however long they want, it's never going to happen again. To not even give Bruce the chance to thank the crowd is horrible. To make matters worse, the crowd lost out on 10th Avenue Freeze Out AND the chance to pay their respects to Clarence Clemons. At the time it was just really confusing. The front of house speakers were cut so we could still hear the band, just quietly, so it seemed like a technical failure at the time. When Twist and Shout was faded out I just thought it was an intentional, innovative live ending, but evidently not. The whole setup was a sham in general. For 66 entry the view from most places was obscured by a pair of tents on stage, the screens were too low down, and the volume was non-existent. I was right at the front, to the left of the stage, and I still had to watch most of the show on the screens, and didn't even have to raise my voice to be heard clearly by people around me. Then at the end of the show we were all shepherded out in the dark by guys with megaphones, right onto busy roads. That the sound was cut for health and safety reasons due to closed roads is utter bullshit. And it's all the fault of the multi millionaire morons that live around Hyde Park. Even Boris Johnson said the band should have been allowed to carry on. It wouldn't even have been for more than 10 minutes longer in any case. Yeah, rules are rules, but when does Bruce ever not go over curfew simply for the love of playing? He did come on half an hour later than billed, but everyone from Lady Antebellum onwards was late, and when does a headline act ever start at the billed time? With all that said, the show itself was absolutely fantastic. I've never seen anything like it, and to see Springsteen live is a dream come true for me. It was more of a fan's set than a festival one but that's fine by me. Absolutely incredible, especially with all the guest appearances. But I still won't be returning to Hard Rock Calling.
    This would've been the local authorities enforcing this by some sort of hefty fine. This is a standard practice, regardless of who the artist is. Once the show goes over the specified curfew, it's at the discretion of the venue's production management to end the show...usually with law enforcement over-seeing it. It could've resulted in several arrests, from the band's audio crew, to the venue's production team, to the artists themselves.
    TJ although I get your point (s) of shows have a designated end time then you respect it. Dosen't matter who you are, rules are rules, even if Bruce came on late then the organizer should have planned ahead to cover a longer then expected show time.
    10 more for legends is much to ask. And those saying rules are rules, you better not be serious.
    I'm sure lots of people in the neighbourhood would've complained to get another free Springsteen/McCartney song.