What’s Making Fans Riot at Metallica Concerts?

The two riots at Metallica concerts in the last couple months don’t make sense. And, as sensational as both situations are, the whole thing still seems a bit odd because it wasn’t the fans inside the venue who were rioting.  And there also seems to be a cultural pattern developing.

Beyond just the shock and awe of watching the videos, I also read several of the reports about both Metallica riots.

I don’t have any hard and fast answers myself. I’m only going on what I’ve read or watched.

But when I realized that the Colombia and Chile riots really had nothing to do with Metallica’s live show, or the fans watching the performance, I started to wonder what caused the riots.

The more I understand it, whole situation seems oddly ironic, too. Because while the fans inside the venue where “peacefully” rocking out to Metallica, fans outside the venue were getting doused in tear gas, arrested and chased away by police on horseback.

When I read the comments in this Huffington Post report and on the AP YouTube video above, I started to wonder…

Was it really just the angry fans who couldn’t get into the show who caused the riots?

Or was it an overly aggressive response by the police to break up the large gathering of fans outside the venue that started the riots?

Or maybe this was a case where the culture caused the riot, meaning it’s possible that for various cultural reasons — that I might not understand as an American — fans in Chile and Colombia responded differently to not being able to get into a concert. I’ve even thought back to the film Heavy Metal in Baghdad to find some answers.

I know heavy metal has a massive worldwide fan base and an extremely dedicated following in South America. And I also know that it’s been over 10 years since Metallica played in the region, so maybe that what made fans boil over.

I also know that historically and sociologically there’s a whole bunch of reasons why people riot. And when riots happen the place or the event where the riot happens —  a Metallica concert in this case — doesn’t always explain why people rioted.

What Does Google Show Us?

To better understand the history of rioting in Chile in and Colombia, I did a quick Google Search to see if there was a difference in how frequent riots happen in Chile and Colombia.

Again, this isn’t an in-depth or an official scientific study, but nonetheless what I found did provide some helpful cultural context. Because by the results of my Google search it appears that riots happens more frequently in Chile and Colombia than they do in the United States. So that helps explain why I find the Metallica riot stories so sensational and fascinating.

And my research also found that social media might have played a role in the Colombia riot.

I read this Examiner post that cites the AP saying that authorities are investigating the possibility that “posts made on Facebook urged fans to cause disruption if they could not get tickets for the concert attended by 35,000 people.”

And lastly, I also learned that Colombia has a history of heavy metal rioting as noted in this Colombia Reports story that documents fans rioting at an Iron Maiden concert in 2009 at the same Simon Bolivar park where the Metallica concert and riot happened.

Like I said, at this point, all I have are these reports and my own questions and speculation. And now I’d like to get your help so we can put our heads together to figure this out and better understand the situation surround the Metallica riots.

Let’s Think About It
Was it fans, the band, the music, the promoter, the Metallica-starved culture or a mix of all of the above?

If you have any insight into any of these possible scenarios of why the Metallica riots in please join the discussion by dropping a comment below.

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