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Lynyrd Skynyrd concert off as RNC tents come down

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 01:16 AM
TAMPA -

As quickly as crews set up a massive tent city for Republican National Convention concerts and VIPs, they started tearing down much of it Sunday afternoon as Tropical Storm Isaac neared the Gulf of Mexico.

"The main tent can withstand 90-mph winds, but we want everyone to be safe," said Rob Jennings, president of American Event Consulting, which built a massive entertainment village near the Forum for concerts with Kid Rock, Journey and others.

Already, the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert Sunday night was canceled, and others might be, depending on the conditions.

The complex is likely the largest temporary pavilion in the city during RNC week - a warren of RVs, generators, portable bathroom trailers and catering stands. And as rain started coming down, crews rushed to take down anything the wind could lift up: chairs, crates, banners and supplies.

Republican VIPs are in town as the party prepares to nominate Mitt Romney as its presidential nominee and Paul Ryan as his running mate.

For his part, radio host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was walking to his broadcast booth next to the main tent and said, "I wish I had that power to pray away a storm, from here or my house."

"But the key thing is Romney's speech, (Romney's wife) Ann's and Paul Ryan's, too," he said. "If we didn't do anything else but that, we'd be OK."

Other concerts and events are still on track for the pavilion, Jennings said, but with the storm in charge, anything might change.


rmullins@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7919 Twitter@DailyDeadline

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