RPD 'still reviewing' 919 Day concert attended by hundreds
Posted September 29, 2020 6:51 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2020 7:58 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — With little social distancing and mask wearing, a concert attended by more than 200 people became concerning for neighbors living around the Wilders Grove Youth Center on Sept. 19.
"They were down there until midnight," said Al Gaddy. "They didn't let us know, the neighbors here, what was going to happen."
The 919 Raleigh Day event attracted a large crowd that packed in tightly near a stage set up in a field off Willow Oak Road. Video posted on Instagram showed a small number of attendees wearing masks.
The Governor’s executive order for mass gatherings includes exemptions for activities like protests and political rallies based on the First Amendment; however, outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people.
“Honestly, the security guard was doing that throughout the night," said concert promoter Rome Jeterr of efforts to keep people spaced out.
Jeterr said social distancing and mask wearing was encouraged on flyers promoting the event. He said people had their temperatures taken at the gate.
“Most of the night they were separate because people were eating and people were shopping ... a couple of times during the concert they came together. They had to wear masks.”
When asked about the video showing limited mask wearing, Jeterr said, "I can't control people, but security guards after were telling people to put their masks on.”
Jeterr said coronavirus concerns overshadowed the annual event that aims to showcase local music and local businesses. He said about 20 local vendors set up stands that were distanced by more than 10 feet.
“I think we made a big impact in a small window," he said. "I think people are not appreciating that the dollar is going back to the community.”
“It was all positive. There [were] no breakouts and no other police reports. The police were there.”
Neighbors say police officers responded to help direct traffic and allowed the concert to continue for hours into the night.
Donna-maria Harris, a spokesperson for the Raleigh Police Department, released a statement on Sept. 21 that said the department was reviewing the event.
On Tuesday, eight days after WRAL's initial request for information, Harris said, “We are still reviewing this incident. I hope to be able to answer your questions within the next few days.”
Jeterr says he has not received any kind of citation or warning.
Wilders Grove Youth Center, which operates a Pop Warner football team, told WRAL they rented the space to Jeterr to make up for lost revenue caused by the pandemic.
After seeing a lack of distancing and complaints from neighbors about loud music and parking, Wilders Grove said no more concerts will be allowed at the field.
“If I could do it again I would go door-to-door and just talk to people and gain relationships that way," Jeterr said.
The Wake County Division of Public Health said no positive COVID-19 cases have been traced to 919 Raleigh Day.