The aftermath of the Pukkelpop Festival tragedy has left at least five people dead and about 140 concertgoers injured, the Associated Press has newly reported. A fierce, unexpected thunderstorm collapsed the main stage of the Belgian festival, as well as blowing down tents and trees across the festival grounds. As a result, the remainder of Pukkelpop has been cancelled, which means artists like the Antlers, Cults, Tune-Yards, James Blake, Fleet Foxes, Odd Future, Eminem and many others will not perform.
Scores of artists have responded on Facebook, expressing their condolences for the tragedy. James Blake, who was scheduled to perform, said “On behalf of myself, Ben and Rob, I’d like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to anyone caught or hurt in the storms at Pukkelpop. Our show has been cancelled. Thanks to everyone who came to support us.” The electronic artist Hudson Mohawke said, “No Pukkelpop for me this weekend, unbelievable shit going down there, so so sad.” Little Dragon updated, “Our hearts go out to the people who passed away from storm at Pukkelpop. R.I.P So sad to hear this news.” Azari And III said, “It is with deep regret that due to the tragic events and storms at Pukkelpop, the festival has been cancelled. Our thoughts are with those affected.” On Twitter, Foo Fighters, A-Trak, The Horrors, Mark Ronson, Anna Calvi, and many, many more expressed condolences. NME interviewed the frontman of Noah And The Whale, who called the storm “apocalyptic.”
The frontman of Smith Westerns, Cullen Omori, tweeted during the storm, as the band was playing when the stage collapsed. His tweet read “Stage collapsed max almost got crushed by the tress. I hope Pukkelpop has insurance bc all our shit is broke.” It has since been deleted, as Omori did not realize the full scope of the tragedy, and has been replaced by “Apologize to anyone who mistook tweet. Wrote direclty [sic] after running off stage. Just found out the extent of damage. All of prays go to those hurt.”
This tragedy is unfortunately the latest in a series of bizarre accidents at festivals; stage collapses also occurred at the Indiana State Fair (which killed at least five), a Cheap Trick show, and a Flaming Lips show.