Stage Collapses on Smith Westerns at Belgium's Pukkelpop; Several People Reported Dead and Injured
Published Aug 18, 2011Yet another outdoor stage has collapsed at a music event this summer, this time during a performance from Chicago-bred indie popsters Smith Westerns in Belgium. The accident occurred earlier today (August 18) at the Pukkelpop festival in Hasselt, Belgium.
Not much has been revealed about the incident just yet, but frontman Cullen Omori has posted a few tweets about what happened. It looks as if a storm was developing shortly before the band played their set ("Looks like it's going to rain. #tentstage #teeheehee," Omori wrote), and the spate of bad weather in turn wreaked havoc on the stage. As it stands, the band are alright, but their gear has been trashed.
"Stage collapsed max almost got crushed by the tress. I hope pukkelpop has insurance bc all our shit is broke," he tweeted, hinting that it was a close call for band member Max Kakacek. "Praying no one got hurt. Wtf."
UPDATE: According to the Associated Press, at least four people have died as a result of the stage collapse.
UPDATE 2: A newer report from AP says
Jared Leto, whose 30 Seconds to Mars were scheduled to headline the fest, also tweeted: "CRAZY STORM AT PUKKELPOP IN BELGIUM -- NOT SURE WE WILL BE ABLE TO GO ON STAGE -- STAY TUNED. SAFETY FIRST."
It looks as if a number of stages have since collapsed on festival grounds during the storm.
"FOUR STAGES DOWN -- STILL RAINING + THUNDER IF YOU ARE HERE PLEASE BE SAFE," Leto added.
This latest incident comes in the wake of last week's tragic collapse at the Indiana State Fair, which killed five people and injured several more; an Oklahoman accident that sidelined a Flaming Lips set; and last month's destructive windstorm at the Ottawa Bluesfest.
UPDATE 3: Smith Westerns have now issued the following statement: "We had just finished the first song of our set at Pukkelpop when the stage/tent started shaking and simply thought it was a storm passing through. I made a comment about Cheap Trick and we were about to play the next one when our tour manager yelled at me to run off the stage. Right then the tress collapsed 1 foot in front of Max. At this point we thought only the stage broke, not the tent. Amid the chaos it was hard to tell exactly what had happened, but after the rescue teams started coming in it became clear that there were severe injuries and we are now being told there are reports of multiple deaths. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones in today's tragedy."