EDMONTON – Officials with the Edmonton Folk Music Festival evacuated Gallagher Park on Thursday night, after a storm packing high winds hit the popular festival.
After just two performers had taken the stage on the hill, thousands of fans were told to evacuate at about 8:30 p.m.
The high winds picked up quickly, blowing tents, tarps and damaging a video screen.
Organizers said they chose to evacuate the hill in the interests of safety.
In a Facebook post, organizers explained their on-site meteorologist had advised that after the first case of high winds, there could be another more intense storm that could have made conditions on the hill unsafe.
As a result of the evacuation, performances by the Decemberists and Shakey Graves were cancelled.
The festival said the two acts have been invited back to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2018.
“We’re trying to predict the future here, so if your weather guys are coming to you saying it’s unsafe you know we’ve had situations in North America and here fairly locally that show the winds here can be strong and dangerous,” festival producer Terry Wickham said Friday.
In 2009, Donna Moore of Lloydminster, Sask., was killed when a storm swept through the site of the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alta., and the stage collapsed, sending a giant speaker crashing on top of her.