hasslet, belgium—Five people died and 140 people were injured, 10 critically, when tents and numerous stages’ rigging collapsed last month at Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival during a violent thunderstorm.
The festival, served by multiple production vendors, saw its Chateau Stage’s tent collapse when trees fell onto its rigging. A dining tent, video screens and other temporary structures fell, with some stages, such as the Shelter stage, sustaining unspecified damage. In the wake of the disaster, the rest of the festival had to be cancelled.
Founded in 1985, Pukkelpop is a three-day event, held in Hasslet, 50 miles east of Brussels. A popular stop on the European festival circuit, this year’s line-up included Eminem, Foo Fighters, 30 Seconds to Mars, The Offspring, Fleet Foxes and others. An estimated 60,000 people were onsite when the storm hit.
The Stageco Group, the largest staging vendor in the region, quickly issued a statement in the wake of the disaster: “Everyone at Stageco is deeply saddened by the tragic deaths at Pukkelpop, and we would like to convey our deepest sympathies to family and friends affected. Stageco stages remained structurally sound throughout the storms, which so badly affected other tented structures at the festival."
The Pukkelpop disaster marked the fourth weather-related concert rigging collapse this past summer. On Saturday, August 13, five people died when a Grandstand stage fell just prior to a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair. On August 8, a Flaming Lips show at Tulsa, OK’s Brady Block Party was cancelled just before showtime when 80 MPH winds hit the venue, blowing over a 15-foot video wall and tearing off roofing. And on July 17, a stage collapsed just after Cheap Trick cut its performance short at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest in Canada.