PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Panama City police have activated a special event zone in advance of a nightclub performance this weekend.  

Vibez Nightclub is hosting the somewhat controversial rap artist “Boosie” who will take the stage Saturday night. “Boosie” has a checkered past with law enforcement, serving at least two prison sentences. He was arrested in 2021 for a fight that broke onstage during his concert in Atlanta.

Panama City police refused to discuss the artist or the nightclub. They will only say declaring a special event zone is in the best interest of the public.

“It has to deal with the way the customers would possibly behave and the abundance of their customers,” said Panama City Police Chief Mark Smith. “The act tends to draw more people than the venue can hold, so you have a lot of people that will appear that want to get in, are unable to get in, and then with that comes our traffic problems.”

Panama City is using a special events local ordinance and a state law that both passed last year. Special event zones can be activated when an unpermitted activity or event advertised on social media is anticipated to draw a crowd of 50 or more people.

This map outlines the special event zone beginning at Michigan Avenue and running through to Brown Avenue. Signs have been posted within the zone warning event-goers of the consequences that come with traffic violations. 

“The city council brought in a city ordinance on pop-up special events, which follows right in line with the state and also gives us some additional authorities to close the business down if needed,” said Smith. 

Police experienced problems with large crowds at Vibez during spring break 2022. Then a few months later, in May a brawl broke out inside the club, resulting in a number of arrests. The club shut down for several weeks while owners came up with new policies and procedures involving customer behavior and security.

Vibez management issued a statement saying:

“The Vibez management team has been coordinating with PCPD’s special event zone put in place for this weekend. The relationship we’ve built with our clients and PCPD maintains an understanding of 0 tolerance for drama or any other negative issues that may arise. We’ve staffed accordingly to ensure that our rules and city laws are followed as we continue to do so on any night we’re open. Like we’ve said in the past, the safety of our patrons is our #1 priority whether it’s a normal night or an event. Our goal is to bring events for the community to enjoy, and we had an opportunity to bring an artist that locals normally have to travel outside of Panama City to see perform.”

The special event zone is currently in effect and will end on Sunday.