Nation/World


One dead, 15 hurt in stage collapse

SUNDAY, AUG. 2, 2009

Police officers and others work to free people from the wreckage of the main stage after it flipped in a storm during a music festival in Camrose, Alberta, on Saturday.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Police officers and others work to free people from the wreckage of the main stage after it flipped in a storm during a music festival in Camrose, Alberta, on Saturday. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

CAMROSE, Alberta – One person was killed and at least 15 were injured Saturday after a storm whipped through an outdoor country music festival, causing a stage to collapse.

Strong winds and heavy rain began hitting the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, east of Edmonton, around 6 p.m., said Camrose Police Chief Darrell Kambeitz. He confirmed the one death and said all 15 injured were taken to hospitals.

“The concert at Big Valley Jamboree was delayed and the concert bowl was being cleared when a small portion of the main stage collapsed,” Kambeitz told the Canadian Press. He said reports of dozens of people being trapped at the site weren’t true.

Vancouver-based country music singer Jessie Ferrel said it was a terrifying experience.

“It felt like bombs were going off around us in this concrete and steel building. Huge hits of power hitting the building, and then the lights were off,” she told CTV News.

“People were missing and trying to find each other and there was a woman who was trying to tell everyone to stop panicking and she was panicking on the speakers.”

Justin Bell, a freelance writer covering the festival for Sun Media, watched the storm hit.

“It was calm and eerie for about 20 seconds, then people began running,” he said.

A Billy Currington band member was assisted from the wreckage. His bloodied arm was badly injured. His band was playing when the stage went down.

The Big Valley Jamboree Web site said Kevin Costner and his band Modern West were next on the lineup to perform when the storm hit.

The four-day festival in western Canada started Thursday and was scheduled to wrap up today. It was not clear if the festival was going to continue, Kambeitz said.


 

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