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Area near Artpark stage evacuated prior to concert

Bomb-sniffing dogs smelled something that led authorities to evacuate an area near Artpark's main outdoor stage before Tuesday night's concert, according to New York State Parks Police.

No threat was found and the performance eventually went on.

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and personnel from other law enforcement agencies were called in by parks police at about 4:45 p.m. after a K-9 unit detected an odor near the front of the main stage, Parks Police Lt. Clyde Doty said. A second K-9 unit also detected an odor in the same area, he said.

Authorities took apart some speakers and used X-ray equipment before determining the area was safe.

"The dogs alerted on an odor of some sort," Doty said. "There's no telling what that odor was."

Some concertgoers were kept outside the venue's gates as authorities investigated. The K-9 units are part of the normal security protocol at Artpark's concerts, Doty said.

On Tuesday night, Artpark thanked patrons for their patience in a message on the venue's website.

Artpark offered ticketholders for Tuesday's show complimentary general admission tickets to either the June 27 or July 11 shows at Artpark, based on availability.

Jan Reitler, an Amherst resident, was among those evacuated about a half-hour after being allowed into Artpark.

"We all got let in about 5 p.m. We were seated. Friends went up to front of stage. At about 5:30 p.m., they brought a bomb dog in. It sniffed something out in one of the speakers. The police brought in second dog. They evacuated everyone out of that area. We were forced to the back of Artpark and they are not letting any more people in," Reitler said.

"The dogs hit on the speaker, a lower speaker on the stage. The speakers are about 5 foot by 3 foot," she added. "We were all evacuated out of that area. They brought in state police and they kept moving us back further and further."

Randy Bachman, a Canadian musician best known as the lead guitarist, songwriter and founding member of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, was the performer at the event. The band 54-40 was the opening act.

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