Homegrown evacuated over an 'innocent misunderstanding'

The stage was closed for the night. Photo credit: Newshub.

Police say a security scare which sparked a mass evacuation at Wellington's Homegrown festival on Saturday night turned out to be an "innocent misunderstanding".

Thousands were forced to leave the dub and roots stage at Waitangi Park at 9:20pm, just a few minutes before a planned minutes' silence for the Christchurch mosque attack victims.

A police spokesperson says they made the call to evacuate, not Homegrown staff. One person was spoken to and the area searched.

It was initially believed the man had a far-right tattoo.

"As a result police can confirm there has been no threat to the Homegrown festival or the public," police said in a statement.

"While the concern in this case appears to have been an innocent misunderstanding, police would like to remind people to stay vigilant and call 111 if they see anything suspicious."

The tattoo turned out to be traditional, police said.

Homegrown spokesperson Kelly Wright told Stuff concert-goers only missed out on 10 minutes of music, and only the dub and roots stage was affected.

"It was just completely out of our control, as it's transpired all four other stages kept going."

New Zealand has been on edge since the mosque attacks nine days ago, which killed 50 people. A number of events since then have been cancelled, either due to fears of copycat incidents or a lack of police availability.

Acts at this year's Homegrown festival included Shapeshifter, Dave Dobbyn, Kora and Blindspott.


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