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NEWS UPDATE: At Least Five Killed At Pukkelpop Fest In Belgium. Remaining Fest Days Cancelled

By Ace Baker / August 18, 2011

Thursday 8:15 PM PDT Day’s End Update

This will be it for the day unless somethig big breaks. Here is what we know….

PHOTO COURTESY OF RIGGING HARDWARE ON FB

The Pukkelpop Festival has been a fixture in Belgium for many years. (I have a YourTube playlist of Little Feat doing a show there in the mid ’70s). In the late afternoon hours of August 18, bad weather blew in to what had been expected to be a day of sunshine in the town of Hasselt. Most of the men were wearing shorts and girls were sporting bikini tops. The storm came hard and fast.

At least two and possibly as many as four stages were damaged or demolished. On one, stage truss and towers were toppled when winds tore down the tent they were inside of. VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKnKG-iIzaQ


At least four people are dead. Unofficial reports put that number much higher. At least 30 appear to be critically injured. At about 5 AM local time, organizers cancelled the rest of the multi-day event. Arrangements are being made to get the 60K campers back home via trains and buses that were not supposed to arrive until Sunday.

“Pukkelpop is in deep mourning,” the organization writes on its website . “We feel much sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. Words can not describe.”

As far as bands and crew, latest reports are that management and crew have checked in for Deftones, Foo Fighter and 30 Seconds to Mars and report all are OK. Unconfirmed report has one video engineer hit by flying debris and taken to the hospital in critical condition.

We will continue to update as more info comes in. In the meantime, two forums have been started on SoundProLiveSocial.com. To discuss the events of the past week, go to http://soundprolivesocial.com/forum/topics/indiana-and-other-stage-collapse .   To get in a discussion of where we go from here as an industry, go to http://soundprolivesocial.com/forum/topics/in-light-of-a-tragedy-where-do-we-go-from-here


If you are on-sote or have more info, please EMAIL it so we can post.

Thank you to Sandy, Keith, CrewSpace and everyone else who has made it possible to stay on top of this today.

———————————–

Thursday 6:35 PM PDT UPDATE

More video. Stage truss and towers at Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival were toppled when a severe storms tore down the tent they were inside of. According to the BBC at least three people have been killed.  Latest reports are that management and crew have checked in for Deftones, Foo Fighter and 30 Seconds to Mars and report all are OK. Unconfirmed report has one video engineer hit by flying debris and taken to the hospital in critical condition.Most reports are putting the number of dead at four (not confirmed) with as many as 30 injured critically.Organizers are planning to start the festival again tomorow morning at 11AM.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKnKG-iIzaQ

Thursday 4:59 PM PDT UPDATE

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okyx6HbpHmI

Stage truss and towers at Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival were toppled when a severe storms tore down the tent they were inside of. According to the BBC at least three people have been killed. Updates as fast as we get them

 

Thursday 4:12 PM POT

Latest reports are that management and crew have checked in for Deftones, Foo Fighter and 30 Seconds to Mars and report all are OK. Unconfirmed report has one video engineer hit by flying debris and taken to the hospital in critical condition. Some reports are putting the number of dead at 7 (not confirmed) with as many as 30 injured critically.

THursday 1:22 PDT

New video from Belgian TV. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9URBLC4Yg0Y

Thursday 1:10 PM PDT

THANKS TO RIGGING HARDWARE ON FB

THIS IS FROM SOMEONE ON THE SCENE! PLEASE EXCUSE THEIR LIMITED ENGLISH


Also on the Pukkelpop Festival Hasselt near the storm was ugly house this evening. The Chateau and Wablieftent were blown down, a tower next to the main stage collapsed and trees were to go. Here are at least two people were killed, of whom the meadow itself and another on the site. That left the group officially know at a press conference the mayor Hasselt Hilde Claes was present. Other sources speak of three deaths.

Forty people were injured, they are cared for in different hospitals and sports facilities nearby. Their identity is kept secret by the organization, they will inform the families themselves first.

Chokri Mahasine organizer has announced to suspend all performances until they have better information on the situation. “It’s a tough decision between human suffering and fifty others who are here. We look at whether anything could happen tonight, but we’re not sure yet. It’s a tough decision. Anyway, a number of stages is not used.”

“Texting or tweeting” 
“Safety is an important issue for the festival now. The festival goers are very quiet, and for that we have to maintain peace in the organization asked to return to play a little music,” explained Mayor Claes yet.

There are also asked to send text messages or using hash tag # tweeted ppok to the home front if you’re OK, and not because the phone networks to overload. There is also a central emergency number is open to the public: 011/23.97.11.

Confusing information 
Previously reported six deaths, a message that was attributed to the fire brigade of Sint-Truiden. They have to press agency Belga formally deny that they have said. It is certainly a sign of the chaos that prevails in and around Kiewit, where sirens fill the air and not music. During the press conference itself was contradictory information to walk: 3 deaths, 11 serious and 60 minor injuries reported a text of the VRT.

Crisis 
Following the events at Pukkelpop in Hasselt, the municipal emergency plan announced. Around half past eight in the fire station is the city’s crisis center for the first time together. As soon as the municipal emergency plan is announced, a crisis unit composed developed consisting of the mayor, emergency services and, in the case of Hasselt, the hospitals in the area. At their meeting at the fire station, they will “work together to see what happens,” it reads. The emergency services report that a central emergency number is open to the public: 011/23.97.11.

Hail and strong winds 
Around 6:15 p.m. It all started in Kiewit. A storm with strong winds and large hail balls, swept the festivalwei and surrounding campgrounds.

Hide 
The scantily clad festival goers (this afternoon there was talk of sunshine and bikinis) had to hide from the hail below what they could find, including fences blown down under. The club tent was cleared. The whey and the streets around it are flooded.

Chateau 
The Chateau Tent was not withstand the storm. “The American band Smith Westerns were not even halfway through their concert when the canvas of the Chateau the first cracks began to show. An initial wave of panic shot some viewers straight to the exit while at first glance little danger. After a hellish sounding tear on the left side of the tent shot the entire mass in a panic towards the two narrow passages in the tent.

A few seconds, several poles ripped from the ground and remained in the Chateau little left outside the floorboards. That there is certainly injured, but the exact details in this regard is still awaiting data from the Flemish Cross. “, Writes De Morgen that reviewer Doug Symons, who is on site.

Q-music journalist Vanhaecke Each affirms: “There came a sudden violent thunderstorm. It began to blow very hard.” This led to the collapse of several tents. So certainly the awning of the Boiler Room collapsed. “It is still unclear what exactly happened, but there are certainly several wounded,” said Vanhaecke.

Festival shut down 
Meanwhile, on Twitter became known that evening of the festival was canceled. Chokri organizer says it will assess whether performances will take place tonight. Include the Foo Fighters would occur this evening.

Thurs. 12:46 PM

News report from Belgium

http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/mediatheek/programmas/journaal/2.17088/2.17089/1.1090129

Thurs. 12:37 PDT

New video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDKg9aFsjlQ

THURS. 12:23 PDT

New video of storm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51u250vZDBc

THURS. 12:06 PDT

First video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Bt9D2ZIB0Uc

According to the BBC at least four persons killed at Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. For the story, click here.

__________________

From @NMEmagazine:

A stage at Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival has collapsed due to severe storms.

According to reports, turbulent weather caused trees to fall over, destroying The Chateau stage. The Shelter stage has also been damaged by trees. It is not yet clear whether anyone has been hurt, but sources suggest that emergency services has been called.

The rest of the day’s programming is expected to be called off.

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.”

THANKS TO CREWSPACE!!!

Stay tuned to SoundProLive.com for updates as this story unfolds.

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Ace Baker

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