PNE Amphitheater Employee Recalls Lil Baby Riot

Many questions remain in the aftermath of the Lil Baby riot in Vancouver. Now, an event employee is sharing more details about what led to the destructive incident at the PNE Amphitheater earlier this week.

Daily Hive spoke to a part-time bartender with the PNE named Eunice Dayton – an alias the employee provided to protect her identity.

On Sunday, she worked cash and took drink orders at the Breakout Festival last Sunday at the PNE Amphitheater. Dayton tells Daily that she worked at the East Bar on Stage Left.

In a nutshell, she said “vibes were off.”

“I noticed immediately upon arriving on the field that the crowd demographic was very young,” Dayton recalled.

She started her shift a little before 4:30 p.m., and by then the bar was moderately busy and there were queues. She added that the crowd was polite when ordering drinks, but did not tip.

“That’s pretty normal for the demographic.”

Dayton sensed something in the crowd that worried him.

“What I’ve noticed in terms of energy is a general rowdy building.”

She told Daily Hive that she grew up in the 90s and went to Lollapalooza “and moshed” in her day.

“What I felt was energy about to explode. Hundreds of kids were packed in front of the stage, jumping up and down and screaming. Nothing unusual at a concert, but there were also lots of drinks flying through the air, plastic cups etc.

She mentioned a few minor altercations near her bar over smoking, and Dayton felt a “general rise in aggressive energy.”

“There were a lot of young men there,” she added.

Dayton was eager to leave quickly as the bar was closing; she dashed along Hastings Street after her shift and noticed numerous Vancouver Police Department vehicles racing east with sirens blaring.

“I knew then that something had exploded.”

Dayton says that during her shift she had a privately contracted security guard near her until she said it was not typical.

“It was an early indicator that shenanigans were expected.”

Dayton believes the incident was “fueled by alcohol and probably a lot of drugs.”

As a result, Dayton says she “doesn’t feel safe returning to work in the amphitheater after this event.”

It wasn’t just because of this event, but because she says the bars are overstaffed with temps and inexperienced staff during her time there.

“The atmosphere is always chaotic at the best of times with too many cooks.”

PNE response to security issues

We raised Dayton’s concerns with the PNE, which responded to the Daily Hive about its security measures.

“We had a good security plan that is being developed in conjunction with the Vancouver Police Department and based on significant experience in this genre and also with this particular event,” said PNE spokeswoman Laura Ballance.

“In addition to our own security team, we had 36 police officers on site. It didn’t happen because we didn’t have a good plan or the right amount of staff.

Ballance added that 4,200 people left disappointed but respectful, while the rest “decided to channel that angry disappointment and destroy property.”

The PNE provides personnel with counseling and trauma resources for everyone who worked on the day of the incident.

“We understand that some people are upset, and we would never ask anyone to return to work if they are not ready.”

The Breakout Festival also issued an apology.

Joshua B. Speller