HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s tailgating gone wrong. Last Saturday night, hundreds of fans gathered in a parking lot near the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford before the Rascal Flatts concert. One fan captured the entire thing on her cell phone and posted it on social media.
“There was a lot of underage drinking and we could just tell by the Dunkin Donuts cups and other random cups they had in their hands,” said Mike Turner of Southington.
Turner and his friends use the same lot to tailgate in before every country concert.
“It was very scary even though I know clearly they were underage and there was just a lot of people,” said Libby Coffey of Berlin.
Turner and Coffey say normally the lot behind Baronet Coffee is a fun spot with a bunch of regulars. But last Saturday was different. Turner says there is normally a solid police presence in the area, but last week just one officer was around when a first fight broke out around 6 p.m.
“He had to drive through the fight to break it up which I don’t blame him cause he was a lone officer. After that the presence disappeared from the lot,” said Turner.
At around 7:00, the crowd began to get out of control. Several fights broke out and people can be seen in the video lying on the ground, some with blood dripping down their faces.
“It was just this mass or people over here, a couple hundred kids all in a crowd,” said Ethan Dumaine of Colchester.
Erica Meister has been parking cars in the lot next to where the fights broke out for three years. While she has seen her share of trouble, last week’s fight was the worst yet.
“It definitely varies per show. It depends on who’s coming and all that, but definitely more of the rowdy stuff for the big country names,” said Meister.
Tonight’s concert, Miranda Lambert, is expected to be much calmer. Meister says she was told only about 8,000 tickets were sold, about half of what was sold for last week’s show. For Coffey and her friends, it’s a much welcome return to their normal concert routine.
“We love country music. We love tailgating. We like having fun but we’re gonna do it the right way,” said Coffey.
News 8 reached out to Hartford Police and while they are aware of the video they say they have not been contacted by any of the victims or witnesses.