Friday, August 19, 2011 • 9:18 AM Comments ()

Belgium's Pukkelpop festival is latest venue to suffer deadly stage collapse

posted by Michael Cimaomo

In what seems to have become a horrifying trend, a concert stage at the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium collapsed Thursday resulting in injuries to dozens of concertgoers and at least five confirmed deaths.

According to the Associated Press, a storm featuring rain, high winds and hail swept through the festival grounds during the afternoon causing a stage where Chicago-based indie rock band the Smith and Westerns were performing to suddenly collapse. Luckily no one from the band was hurt, and frontman Omori Cullen later tweeted that, his prayers were with all who were injured in the accident.

Watch news video of the aftermath of this latest concert tragedy here:

Of course this depressing news comes less than a week after another stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair killed five people and caused numerous injuries to audience members minutes before country stars Sugarland were to perform.

Fortunately band members were able to escape harm then too thanks to the actions of a quick-thinking tour manager, but the experience has clearly left the group shaken as evidenced by guitarist Kristian Bush’s recent statements.

“Our fans just came to see a show, and it ended in something terrible. My heart is totally broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives. It's broken for all the people who got hurt, for the people who were scared,” said Bush. “I thank God for every person who lifted a truss, who pushed against that metal to get it off someone; for every person who used a chair as a stretcher. I thank God for every fan and emergency responder, for everyone who ran to the trouble instead of away from it. The courage of those men and women will forever be with me.”

While extreme weather also played a role in the recent stage collapses at concerts by the Flaming Lips and Cheap Trick, no serious injuries were reported in either case.

However, Cheap Trick did cancel a subsequent concert when it was revealed that the same company who built their stage in Ottawa was responsible for construction at the other venue in Vancouver.

Band manager Dave Frey also issued this statement:

“We simply want to know: what are the companies and organizers doing to protect the next act and the next audience? Every act and every fan ought to be asking the same question when attending an outside musical event.”

For more information on the Pukkelpop Festival please visit www.pukkelpop.be.

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