August 18, 2011 18:36
Music fans killed as stage collapses at Belgium's Pukkelpop festival
Severe storms bring down a stage this afternoon
According to BBC News, The Chateau stage was brought down during a huge storm on the site this afternoon (August 18), around 6pm. It's believed trees were uprooted by strong winds and smashed into the rigging.
The Shelter stage has also been damaged by trees.
Images on Belgian TV have shown fallen rigging and people scrambling for cover in the face of heavy rain and bracing wind on the festival site, which is located near the town of Hasselt.
The rest of the day's programme is expected to be called off.
Noah And The Whale played at Pukkelpop just a few hours before the incident. Frontman Charlie Fink told NME:
We were in our bus when [the storm] happened. The weather got mad, I’ve never seen anything like it, it was almost apocalyptic. It was pitch black like night but was only 5 o’clock. The freakiest part was that it went dead silent and for a festival that isn’t something that usually happens. Then people were just running away. A tree had fallen in the backstage area and a branch had gone straight through one of the tents, it was madness.
The Smith Westerns, who were due to play on The Chateau stage wrote on Twitter: "Stage collapsed max almost got crushed by the tress, I hope pukkelpop has insurance bc all our shit is broke." A further tweet read: "Praying no-one got hurt."
Jared Leto, frontman with 30 Seconds To Mars who are due to headline the Main Stage tonight, wrote on his own Twitter feed: "CRAZY STORM AT PUKKELPOP IN BELGIUM – NOT SURE WE WILL BE ABLE TO GO ON STAGE – STAY TUNED. SAFETY FIRST."
The situation is still unfolding, but stay tuned to NME.COM for further updates. Meanwhile, view live updates on the Twitter widget below.
'I've never seen a storm like that' - eyewitness account
Pukkelpop festival disaster in photos
You cam watch video footage of the Pukkelpop storm and stage collapse here.
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