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Rome archaeologist says Travis Scott’s Circus Maximus concert risked damaging ancient site

The director of Rome’s Colosseum has called for an end to concerts at the nearby Circus Maximus, after a performance by US rapper Travis Scott on Monday sparked fears of an earthquake.

From about 10.30 p.m. local time, Romans also took to social media with comments like: “Anyone feel an earthquake?”

The movement turned out to be a result of tens of thousands of people jumping up and down to the music, especially when Scott introduced a surprise guest: Kanye West.

It was the first time that West, now known as Ye, has performed since he sparked a storm of controversy with a series of antisemitic comments.

Now, Alfonsina Russo, director of the head of the Colosseum Archeological Park, has called for an end to performances at the Circus Maximus, the ancient Roman chariot-racing and entertainment venue.

Russo has called for only opera and ballets to be staged at the grassy oval arena, which has no seating, leaving audiences to stand on the flat surface or sit on the outer edges.

“These mega rock concerts put it at risk, including the Palatine Hill nearby,” she said.

“Rock concerts should be held in stadiums so as not to endanger public safety.”

The Circus Maximus, situated at the bottom of the Palatine Hill near the Colosseum, has become a popular concert venue in recent years. This summer it has played host to Imagine Dragons, Guns N’ Roses and Bruce Springsteen.

Scott’s’ “Utopia” concert was only announced on August 1, after his concert at the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, scheduled for July 28, was canceled due to “complex production issues.” The 70,000 tickets sold out within hours.

At least 60 people needed medical attention after someone sprayed pepper spray into the concert crowd on Monday, according to Rome’s civil protection department. And a 14-year-old who scaled a false wall to see the concert for free was injured after falling four meters (13 feet), the department added.

“Utopia” is Scott’s first full-length album after his ill-fated 2021 Astroworld Festival in Houston, where a crowd crush left 10 people dead and injured hundreds.

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