A stage collapse at the Big Valley Jamboree country music festival in Canada Saturday night (August 1, 2009) has left one dead and 75 people injured, including Billy Currington’s bassist Alex Stevens.
The stage collapsed as the result of extreme weather that consisted of high winds and heavy rain.
CNN reports that Billy Currington was on stage when the storm hit, and his tour manager was literally pulling him off the stage when the collapse occurred. Currington suffered a mild concussion, scrapes and bruises, the source said, and was released from a hospital Sunday morning.
“We are deeply saddened by the events of Saturday night,” said event Producer Larry Werner. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families, fans and friends impacted by this incident.”
The final day of the four day festival has been canceled.
Billy Currington was just finishing up his set at 6 p.m. when the sky turned dark and spectators began to run for cover from the open-air concert bowl. Within seconds, a violent wind from the west blew over the audience’s white plastic chairs like dominos, then knocked down the scaffold-type stage. Currington, his band and dozens of backstage spectators and crew were still on and underneath it. The floor of the stage caved in and the entire structure of the stage collapsed into itself.
Billy Currington led away from stage after the collapse (Photo by Amber Bracken/Sun Media)
With high winds and heavy rain moving toward the festival grounds, the performances had been postponed and security crews were clearing fans out of the concert when the stage collapsed at approximately 6 p.m. PT. One of the audience members, Ernie Gratton, told the newspaper, “The wind was unbelievably intense. We just followed the crowd out. My eyes were full of sand. There were tents flying all over the place.” Danny Hooper, an air personality for CFCW in Edmonton, told listeners, “I can’t describe the sky. It was brown and purple and green. The massive wind blew me backwards.”
Billy Currington bassist Alex Stevens is assisted from the main stage (Photo by Amber Bracken/Sun Media)
Doug Collins, one of Currington’s guitarists, was on stage when the wind hit. “I was playing slide guitar and I have to look constantly at my hands,” Collins said. “All of a sudden, I saw this blast coming at me and I ran off the stage. “One amp started falling toward me and that’s when it got bizarre. That’s when I ran.”
Watch Canada Stage Collapse Video Reports