Cheap Trick’s set on the final night of the Ottawa Bluesfest was cut short Sunday evening by a storm that eventually caused the main stage to collapse.
The Globe & Mail reports the annual outdoor concert festival in Ottawa came to an abrupt and dramatic end when a sudden and violent storm swept through the riverside site, causing the main stage to collapse and sending thousands of spectators scrambling for shelter – including musicians and Mayor Jim Watson.
Eyewitnesses attending Ottawa’s Bluesfest Sunday evening say the first sign of the approaching storm came when cold air suddenly replaced the hot, muggy weather. Around 7:30 p.m., black clouds, lightning and driving rain followed, and a wind so strong that it folded the stage up in a manner of seconds.
Cheap Trick were on stage, singing their hit “I Want You to Want Me” when the storm clouds approached. The band posted a message on its facebook site later in the evening: “We are SOOOO lucky! Everyone is shaken up but band and crew are all fine. Cheap Trick hopes that everyone who attended the show is also ok."
Singer Robin Zander later added, “Fortunately the band and crew are all lucky to be alive and we'll see you down the road. And all the best to our truck driver Sandy."
The mayor had been on stage before their set, handing out awards.
“Suddenly the wind whipped up from the west and the storm rolled in. It was a scary moment," said Globe and Mail editor Ryan MacDonald, who was at the concert. “People started screaming and crying. The stage was a rectangle and it had scaffolding, three, four storeys high. The wind caught it and blew it backwards. It collapsed like a big tent. It was kind of unreal.”
Environment Canada had a thunderstorm warning in effect for Ottawa, saying winds were expected to reach 90 kilometres an hour.
The Globe & Mail reports Ottawa Fire Services spokesman Marc Messier confirmed that “at least two” people were transported to hospital with injuries by the time fire services arrived within a few minutes of the stage's collapse; Messier couldn't confirm the nature of their injuries, or whether anyone else was seriously hurt.
“One was a crew member, I know that one for sure,” he said. “When we got there, we did a complete search of the exterior and underneath the stage and we were able to confirm there was nobody trapped.”
Concert organizers also issued a statement saying there were no serious injuries.
Read more at the Globe & Mail here.
You’ll notice Cheap Trick’s gear is still on stage in the “aftermath” video below:
Ottawa Blues fest main stage collapse – aftermath
Ottawa, ON - July 17, 2011
Cheap Trick – I Want You To Want Me
Ottawa Bluesfest – Ottawa, ON – July 17, 2011
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