Springsteen draws criticism for not cancelling Italy gig after deadly floods

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ROME (Reuters) - U.S. rock legend Bruce Springsteen came under criticism in Italy for going ahead with a concert in Ferrara on Thursday evening after the northern Emilia-Romagna region was battered by floods that left at least nine people dead.

Fans of "The Boss" took to social networks to urge him and its staff to reconsider in a sign of respect for the eleven dead and the thousands evacuated from their homes after torrential rains caused landslides and made rivers break their banks.

"@springsteen please consider to reschedule your concert today. Surrounding areas have faced devastating floods. You should because: all emergency resources should be available in the affected area; we need to avoid massive traffic; out of respect for the victims", Massimiliano Zampini tweeted.

Others were more outraged.

Cristiana Boi described the decision to go ahead with the show as "outrageous," while Laura Casadei posted: "It is a scandal that they are doing Springsteen's concert in Ferrara tonight. He will sing without an audience as all the main streets are blocked in several places."

Representatives for Springsteen did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Ferrara, one of Emilia-Romagna's main cities, has not been directly affected by the floods and Mayor Alan Fabbri defended the decision not to cancel the concert, which was expected to attract as many as 50,00 people.

"I am sorry if anyone may have thought that Ferrara was insensitive to the tragedy in Romagna just because it did not cancel the concert of The Boss," Fabbri posted on facebook.

A concert, "given its enormous complexity, cannot be postponed or cancelled" at short notice after having involved thousands of workers and tourists arriving in the city, he said.

The floods have instead led authorities to call off Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix in Imola, which is close to many of the areas worst hit by flooding, with organisers saying it was not possible to "safely hold the event".

(Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri; editing by Alvise Armellini and Mark Heinrich)