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Threats blamed for canceled Freedom Hill concert

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 12, 2019


Macomb County law enforcement officials are searching for a suspect who reportedly threatened a Sterling Heights concert venue, leading to the cancelation of a hip-hop show.

The Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill canceled an Aug. 11 Beast Coast “Escape from New York Tour” concert after police heard that violent threats were made against it.

According to Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, the trouble started Sunday at around 10 a.m., when an individual reportedly called Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Sterling Heights Police Department.

“Both (threats were) saying they should cancel the show at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre because of a mass shooting possibility,” Wickersham said.

According to the sheriff, the Auburn Hills and Sterling Heights police departments contacted his office because his agency handles law enforcement and security at the park. He said police began trying to identify the caller and the nature of the incident. 

Wickersham said authorities notified 313 Presents — which handles the amphitheater’s events, booking and marketing — and the security people were advised too. 

“We brought on additional resources to secure the facility and have a presence,” Wickersham added. 

But while the Sheriff’s Office at first expected the show to go on, Wickersham said a decision was made around 5 p.m. to cancel the event. The decision was a joint agreement among the promoter, 313 Presents, and the music artists themselves, Wickersham said.

As of Aug. 12, Wickersham said the threats were still under investigation, and no arrests had been announced. Sterling Heights police Lt. Mario Bastianelli declined to comment on the case, deferring to the sheriff. 

Police have been on alert for mass violence and threats after recent shootings in Dayton, Ohio; El Paso, Texas; and Gilroy, California.

A statement from 313 Presents blamed “unforeseen circumstances” for the concert cancelation. Tickets bought online or over the phone will be refunded. A company representative did not reply for further comment by press time.

Anyone who has more information about this incident should contact the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office by calling (586) 469-5151. 

Find out more about 313 Presents by visiting

Call Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at (586) 498-1058.