Approximately 5,000 concertgoers were evacuated from the Homegrown Music Festival in New Zealand because someone thought they saw a “right-wing tattoo” on an attendee.
The 28-minute long evacuation took place on Saturday evening, just before a scheduled moment of silence for the massacre victims.
Police were alerted when festival crew members spotted someone with a tattoo that they believed to be linked to “far right ideology.”
“Some of the Homegrown crew identified a person that they were concerned about and police made the call that person needed to be found,” Homegrown spokeswoman Kelly Wright told the New Zealand Herald.
The alert happened while bands were changing sets and people were moving around, so the police could not immediately locate the attendee for his tattoo check. Since they couldn’t find him, they evacuated the area.
“A person has been spoken to and the area searched, and as a result Police can confirm there has been no threat to the Homegrown festival or the public,” the police said in a statement. “While the concern in this case appears to have been an innocent misunderstanding, Police would like to remind people to stay vigilant and call 111 if they see anything suspicious.”
It turned out that it was a “mistake” and the tattoo was “traditional” — not related to the right at all.
“The person was found and it turned out that is was a completely innocent misunderstanding and everyone was allowed to return,” Wright said. “It all turned out good but it was unfortunate that it happened and people were inconvenienced.”
We have reached out to the organizers of the festival and asked what would have happened to the attendee if he did in fact have a right-wing tattoo. Would he have been thrown out of the festival? Arrested? We will update this article if a comment is provided.