Organisers of Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival have announced that they are cancelling the rest of the event after five people were killed when a stage collapsed yesterday (August 18).
According to BBC News, The Chateau stage was brought down during a huge storm on the site yesterday afternoon. It’s believed trees were uprooted by strong winds and smashed into the rigging. The Shelter stage has also been damaged by trees.
It was initially thought that three people had been killed and over 70 injured, but that number has now been confirmed as five.
Organisers have issued a statement, in which they say the festival is “in deep mourning” and that the events “were truly exceptional and could not have been predicted”.
The statement reads:
Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We truly sympathise with the families and friends of the victims. Words are not enough. We have struggled with the decision to continue the festival. Therefore we have decided to cancel Pukkelpop 2011. What has happened is very exceptional and could not have been predicted. We are deeply moved by all the spontaneous support the festivalgoers and the organisation have received. We call on all Pukkelpoppers to return home calmly. Extra buses and trains have been organised to bring everybody home. We ask everyone to understand that this decision was extremely difficult to make.
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.
You cam watch video footage of the Pukkelpop storm and stage collapse here.