Pukkelpop Canceled

The organisers of Belgium’s Pukkelpop Festival felt they had no choice but to cancel the event after five people were killed in a storm so strong that it uprooted trees.

Another 50 were injured – a dozen of them quite seriously – as high winds and hailstorms lashed through the Hasselt area and blew down two stages on the site at Kiewit Aug. 18.

The organisers, Chokri Mahassine and Live Nation Belgium, issued a press release saying they “struggled with the decision to continue the festival” but quickly decided they couldn’t continue.

“Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We truly sympathise with the families and friends of the victims,” it said.

When the storm broke, the festival activated its emergency intervention plan, opening the gates to enable the crowd to evacuate the site and immediately taking the injured to local hospitals.

Extra buses and trains have been organised to help the estimated 65,000 crowd return to their homes as soon as possible.