Cheap Trick and Fans Narrowly Escape Death as Stage Collapses at Ottawa Bluesfest
Three people suffered serious injuries including a broken leg and abdominal injuries when the stories-high Ottawa Bluesfest mainstage collapsed during a severe storm Sunday night. On stage at the time were American rockers Cheap Trick who managed to escape just seconds before the entire stage billowed up and crashed down into an adjacent roadway. Eight other people were treated for injuries at the scene. Amongst the three who required hospital treatment was Cheap Trick's truck driver. All three have since been released.
Watch the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest stage collapse video footage from ABC World News Now
Posted on the Cheap Trick FaceBook page was this message from the band, "Everyone is okay and we are so lucky that the fans are okay too." Cheap Trick frontman Robin Zander, obviously shaken by the ordeal, posted a positive message for fans on the band's website, "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."
Environment Canada, the equivalent of the U.S. Weather Service, had issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the area, saying that winds could reach up to 56 MPH. You can read the reactions and experiences of some festival goers in comments on Canada's CBC News site, many of whom were aware of the storm advisory at the time of the surge and stage collapse. The storm spread injury, power outages and destruction for the next two hours as it swept through western Quebec. It spawned one tornado, uprooted trees and caused major damage to structures. Officials are estimating that they fielded around 300 emergency calls, not including the Bluesfest collapse.
The massive storm front moved in overhead quickly, sending panicked festival-goers seeking cover and prompting festival organizers to shut down. Cheap Trick had begun evacuating when the stage, and the surrounding structures, were suddenly hit by what officials are calling a massive "downburst." The speed and power of the downburst, which can pack as much destructive force as a tornado, actually lifted the stage before sending it crashing, fortunately, in the opposite direction of the audience.Continued on the next page