Who concert victims remembered 30 years later

By Stefano DiPietrantonio  - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A candle-lit night of prayer and reflection remembered the 11 people who died 30 years ago.

On Dec. 3, 1979, "The Who" concert at the former Riverfront Coliseum was well attended. Eleven people died trying to get into the concert. They were remembered during a vigil on Thursday night.

"Moving past what happened is definitely what everybody is thinking which is good because not it's all about not forgetting the young kids that died that night," said Michael Babb of Dayton.

They lit candles and said prayers for those who died and those who lived to tell about it.

Darrel Hutton drove in from Northern Kentucky for the candlelight vigil. He was at that concert 30 years ago.

"The people that were here or friends or family that was here it's changed a lot of lives," Hutton said.

Mike Babb said he was glad the word got around to so many people and that so many people actually showed-up.

The old newspapers showed horrific scenes of chalk outlines of bodies on the concrete. More than 18,000 tickets, selling for $10 apiece, sold out in about an hour and a half back in September of 1979.

The majority of those tickets were what was considered festival seating, which meant first come - first served, to potentially stand on the floor and get close to one of the most-popular Supergroups of the 70's.

"That was then, this is now and it's a different time," said Babb. "So people are here because they care and that's what matters the most."

Most of the people FOX19 spoke with all said this was the first time in thirty years that so many people had attended any of the candlelight vigils.

They then marched from the plaza to Christ Church on East Fourth Street, with 11 candlelit lanterns coming to rest on the altar. Dozens of people got up to the podium to share their memories of the 11 young people who died.

"It's more of a caring for the people that died instead of how they died," said Craig Ransom of Dayton. "Everybody's come together to put what happened behind them."

Musician Bootsy Collins and his wife Patti Collins told the crowd,a move is definitely underway toward a permanent memorial.

"After tonight there's a lot more chance than there has been the last 30 years," said Ransom.

"I've talked to a couple of people actually Patti Collins, Bootsy's wife," Babb said. "She's involved with some individuals that are also working hard on getting the memorial which is what we wanted."

Volunteers said they are working on getting some kind of permanent marker in place and hope it won't take another thirty years to make it happen.

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