Kings Of Leon cancel Benicassim slot as festival closes down

Site shut as winds lash across Spanish site

Kings Of Leon have cancelled their Benicassim 2009 headline slot after the festival was closed down last night (July 17) due to extreme weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Lily Allen has pulled out of her previously-scheduled slot for tonight (July 18).

Wind lashed down on the Spanish festival site last night, with organisers taking precautions such as removing the large video screens beside the Escenario Verde stage and pinning down sections that had come loose. Watch video footage of the site by clicking below.

The music did kick off, however, with Paul Weller playing a set on the stage at 9:30pm (CEST). But later in the evening the wind got so bad that the smaller stages were cordoned off.

Kings Of Leon‘s 11pm set was initially delayed, with Tom Tom Club playing instead only to be greeted with boos from fans of the US band. Then at around 1am it was announced that the band would not be playing as the conditions were too dangerous.

Some nearby campsites were evacuated, with bus-loads of fans taken to a nearby leisure centre for shelter. The sites have since been re-opened, although many fans have returned to find their tents destroyed by the wind.

The main festival site is set to re-open this evening. Organisers had hoped to reschedule Kings Of Leon‘s slot for tonight, but the band had already departed.

Drummer Nathan Followill wrote on his Twitter page: “I’m sad to say that we aren’t playing Benicassim. We are so sorry and bummed about last night. Our gear is already headed to Switzerland.”

Maximo Park, who had their slot cancelled last night, will play tonight. They are set to take the stage at 9:30pm in place of Lily Allen, who has pulled out due to illness.

The wind wasn’t the only problem to hit the festival last night. While Weller was playing a fire broke out next to the Benicassim site on a grassy stretch used by many to get to and from the festival.

Photo Gallery – Highlights of Benicassim 2009

Blog – Chaos at Benicassim – the view from backstage

Witness the winds at Benicassim:

See Benicassim engulfed in flames: