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One dead and up to 40 injured after storm rips through Canadian music festival


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One dead and up to 40 injured after storm rips through Canadian music festival


By Mail Foreign Service

Last updated at 12:52 PM on 02nd August 2009




Fans screamed and ran for cover as a fierce thunderstorm caused an outdoor stage to collapse at a country music festival in Canada.


Police said one person was killed and up to 40 others injured, some seriously, during the storm at the Big Valley Jamboree in Alberta.

Thousands of fans had been camping for the concert - billed as Canada's biggest country music festival - when it was struck by strong winds and heavy rain.

Fearing a tornado, panicked crowds scrambled to find their loves ones and some shelter.


Enlarge article-0-05EC0C0D000005DC-206_634x424.jpg Panic: A thunderstorm struck the Big Valley Jamboree music festival in Alberta, Canada

The Billy Currington band from Nashville was playing when the power went out and then the stage collapsed.

One band member was pulled from the wreckage with a badly injured arm. Film star Kevin Kostner and his group Modern West had been next to perform.


'We were all racing for the exit,' Lori Trelenberg said. 'It was devastation. It was strong and powerful. The stage just sort of crumbled.'

Radio personality Danny Hooper was on stage when the storm hit and said: 'I can't describe the sky - it was brown and purple and green. The massive wind blew me backwards.'


article-0-05EC0423000005DC-547_634x465.jpg Injured: Bassist for Billy Currington Shaun Smith was injured when part of the main stage collapsed


article-0-05EC0817000005DC-204_634x377.jpg Help: An injured woman is helped by other festival-goers. One fan died and up to 40 more were wounded

Maria Brandon and her sister, who were watching the show from bleachers near the stage, were injured as they tumbled into the wreckage.

'It was the most terrifying experience of our lives,' she said.

Camrose Police Chief Darrell Kambeitz confirmed one person had been killed and up to 40 people injured, with at least 15 taken to hospital.

Four of the wounded were in a critical condition, according to Canadian media.


article-0-05EC0E01000005DC-560_634x339.jpg Damage: The main stage at the festival which partially collapsed during the strong winds and heavy rain



article-0-05EC08EB000005DC-14_634x405.jpg Get out: Singer Billy Currington is escorted away from the stage as the storm hits

'The concert at Big Valley Jamboree was delayed and the concert bowl was being cleared when a small portion of the main stage collapsed,' Mr Kambeitz added.

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.'

The four-day festival in central Canada started on Thursday and had been scheduled to end today.

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