24 July 1988
Rain is usually good for plants, but for rock singer Robert Plant, it might have put him on the Stairway to Heaven.
Rainstorms are no place for electric guitars, microphones and amplifiers.
Plant, former lead singer of Led Zeppelin, was scheduled to perform outdoors last night at Hershey Stadium. A heavy downpour in the late afternoon and early evening forced postponement of the concert until 2 p.m. today.
Mike Brandon, a spokesman for Electric Factory Concerts, said the heavy rain would have made the concert unsafe for both Plant and his band, as well as the audience. "Robert Plant appreciates everyone's understanding," Brandon said.
He said gates at the stadium will open at noon, and tickets will be sold at the door.
Some 13,000 tickets had been sold for the show, which also features Cheap Trick and Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers. An estimated 10,000 ticketholders made it to the stadium before turning back.
Promoters announced the postponement about 10 minutes before opening act Conwell and his band were scheduled to go on.
Traffic was backed up through Hershey as concertgoers arriving at the stadium were forced to turn around upon hearing of the cancellation. "Our main worry was safety," said Hersheypark spokeswoman Kim Schaller. She said it appeared the rain would not let up.
Plant, whose plane had circled fogbound Harrisburg International Airport several times before landing, did not want to play if the fans would have to stand out in the rain the entire time, Schaller said.
The well-soaked fans had mixed reactions to the rescheduling.
"At least this way, we don't have to stand in the downpour," said Sheila Albert of State College, who planned to stay in the area and attend the show today.
Tracey Barish, a 16-year-old Harrisburg resident, expressed displeasure while walking barefoot through the stadium parking lot.
"We're already soaking wet, and it doesn't matter to us if we get any wetter," she said.
Only a 30 percent chance of rain is predicted for today.
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