Hurricane Hit By Its Namesake

It’s a standing joke that Hurricane is the most aptly named European festival, but promoter Folkert Koopmans said he’s never experienced weather like the deluge that hit the Scheessel site June 25th.

“I’m used to rain. I had it seven years in a row at Hurricane. But this was something completely different,” he told Pollstar two days after a freak downpour left the backstage area under two and one-half feet of water and forced the FKP Scorpio chief to abandon the event.

Within Temptation and Gnarls Barkley, who were playing the two main stages when the skies opened, were both rained off. By the time Muse was due to close out the festival at 10 p.m., Koopmans would have needed a boat to get the band to the stage.

“It came down so fast that in less than an hour you couldn’t see the wheels of the touring buses in the backstage park.

“The water was rising and we told the bands that it was best to leave the site before all the transport got stuck. The crowd understood because there’s nothing you can do when something like that hits,” Koopmans explained.

Compared to Hurricane, the news from the twinned 40,000-capacity Southside Festival at Neuhausen ob Eck was nowhere near as bad. It didn’t rain at all, although near gale force winds caused the schedule to be held up for 90 minutes.

The day before a few isolated freak storms hit northern Europe, including one that pelted Luxembourg’s Rock-A-Field with giant hailstones, Nada Surf had its Hurricane slot cut to 15 minutes on account of World Cup soccer.

Having arranged for a 4,000-capacity viewing area for festivalgoers who didn’t want to miss the matches, Koopmans was faced with trying to accommodate more than 10,000 of them for the June 24 Germany vs. Sweden game.

To keep the site safe and the fans happy, he switched the coverage to the huge screens on either side of Blue Stage and had Nada Surfdo a 15-minute set at halftime.

At least the act was able to play in front of one of the weekend’s biggest crowds. It would also have been a very good-humored one. By the time the band came on stage at the end of the first 45 minutes, the Germans were already cruising to a comfortable win.

Both the 50,000-capacity Hurricane and the 40,000-capacity Southside weekends June 23-25 sold out more than six weeks in advance.

Among the other acts sheltering from the winds and running for the lifeboats were The Strokes, Manu Chao, Seeed, The Hives, Wir Sind Helden, Arctic Monkeys, Apocolyptica, Mando Diao, Fettes Brot, The Cardigans, dEUS, The B-52’s, Wolfmother, The Kooks, The Raconteurs, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, and Death Cab For Cutie.

– John Gammon