Stage Collapses at Ottawa Bluesfest; Thousands Evacuated and Several Injured

BY Daniel SylvesterPublished Jul 18, 2011

The Ottawa Bluesfest descended into chaos Sunday night (July 17) as heavy storm winds caused the main stage to collapse, sending thousands of concertgoers scrambling for cover.

Around 7:20 p.m. EST on the last night of the 12-day music festival, winds reported to be as strong as 90 kilometres per hour (with gusts as high as 140 kilometres) caused Cheap Trick to cut their set short at LeBreton Flats. Less than a minute after the band and crew exited the front of the stage, winds began to tear the canvas tarps from stage right before the entire structure collapsed onto itself.

Spectators immediately ran towards the Canadian War Museum, located on the festival grounds, as torrential rain and hail began to fall. Security guided wet and frightened festivalgoers into the museum's parking garage as over a dozen police, fire and medical vehicles rushed to the scene.

According to a CTV report, Ottawa paramedics said one person was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries following the collapse. Another concertgoer was reportedly also suffering from "severe injuries."

UPDATE: According to more recent reports, at least five concertgoers were injured in the incident.

Sunday night headliners Death Cab for Cutie, along with side stage acts such as Chali 2na, Ra Ra Riot and Galactic have been cancelled.

You can view some footage of the incident below and see some photos here.

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