Mr Zuel said a circle of people formed around the collapsed floor. “People just stepped back a bit from the sunken area, a few walked across. It was just flowing as these people walked across it, from ground level you could see the variation,” he said.
”The worrying thing for me was that people didn’t move immediately, they presumed the show was going to go on, but there was no way it could. For a 10-minute period people were standing around, looking, trying to move around on the edge of the pit.“
Then Owusu returned to the stage. “There’s a real big drop… so this is actually really dangerous,” the performer told his audience.
“We’re going to have to reschedule the show, because this is like a four-meter drop, and that shit will keep going… I love you all, you guys have been amazing. This is really shit.”
The crowd of about 2500 were asked to leave and slowly poured back onto the street.
The 23-year-old Ghanian-born musician – who grew up in Canberra and last year became the first hip-hop artist to take out the ARIA Awards’ album of the year – has been praised for his handling of the incident.
“The best thing he did was identify it immediately,” said Mr Zuel, who was reviewing the performance for the Herald.
Owusu’s manager Andrew Klippel told the herald and The Age they “moved swiftly” to end the show. “There was amazing energy in the crowd, and we will be rescheduling the show hopefully some time next week once engineers have fixed the floor.”
Stage manager Ben Cavenagh said he felt the situation was handled “quickly, safely and effectively” by the venue and touring personnel, so that there were no injuries and all patrons made it home safely. “I am proud of how the situation was handled by the artist and his team,” he said.
Ms Sheppard said she was “terribly disappointed the show was cancelled”. “But [we were] very impressed with the calm and responsible way the crowd conducted themselves and also that the Enmore took control of the situation and shut the show down, with Genesis Owusu’s cooperation and support.
“[It’s] quite devastating for all involved, when we are all starting to enjoy our freedom again, but it’s amazing nobody was injured.”
Many regulars of the Enmore on social media pointed to the precarity of the 114-year-old art deco theater – which had its balconies and ceilings refurbished during 2020 – and said they were unsurprised the floor had given way. Some said it reminded them of attending a Linkin Park tour at the venue in 2001, when a similar incident took place.
But the Enmore’s management said that Thursday night’s floor collapse was a consequence of Sydney’s recent weeks of heavy downpours. “We made the decision to stop the Genesis Owusu show due to three piers at the point where the theater inclines shifting underneath the carpet, creating an even floor,” their statement said.
“This occurred due to the impact of the relentless rain and excessive water inundating the suburb. The floor of the theater has been assessed and remediation works have commenced. We have isolated the section that was affected by water and are further reinforcing the surrounding areas as a further precaution.”
There were still builders moving materials through the back of the theater at midday on Friday, but by late morning the venue said the floors had been repaired and shows would go on from that evening.
“We have had teams working around the clock since [Thursday] night’s events to ensure that the venue is safe,” a Facebook post said. “The theater has been fully assessed to confirm that there is no risk to our patrons at shows going ahead.”
It was a blow avoided for one of Sydney’s best-known live music venues – which has faced several failed reopenings over the past two years – and welcomed by hundreds who bought tickets to see Australian DJ Young Franco on Friday night.
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