I have been reading the news articles about the storm at the Big Valley Jamboree this year, and had to put in my thoughts on the issue.
Of the last 17 jamborees, I have attended for about 14 of them.
It is a long weekend that we work all year for, and enjoy every time we are out there.
This year, we were in the concert bowl when the stage collapsed.
When the storm hit, we were scared. But we survived.
Every article I read after the fact has something in it that just makes me angry.
I first want to praise the emergency workers.
In a matter of minutes, they had taken control of the situation, keeping calm and, in turn, keeping the crowd calm and orderly.
After being herded into the Watering Hole (UFA Pavilion), I was impressed by the fact that not only were they quick, but the information kept flowing between the buildings – keeping everyone informed as to the situation outside of solid, yet thin, metal walls.
Panhandle Productions and Larry Werner deserve praise, not ridicule.
Their emergency procedures are in place for a reason. They are efficient and foolproof. They did everything they possibly could, with a five-minute warning.
My heart goes out to Werner and all the staff after this. They couldn’t have handled things better than they did.
For the amount of people on the site at any given time, it was amazing to me that more weren’t hurt, or worse.
It’s a safe venue.
They have precautions in place for just this thing. But freaks of Mother Nature cannot be predicted.
Environment Canada has said that there was nothing else that could have been done.
The organizers were as prepared as they could be.
Weather is unpredictable — especially in Alberta.
As festival-goers, we pack for everything for 33C weather to -20 degree weather. We are always prepared, but this took everyone by surprise.
If Environment Canada can’t control or predict the weather, neither can anyone else. These people are not gods.
When something like this attacks you, all you can do is curl up and wait for it to pass and pray to whatever God you want that you survive.
It’s amazing to see a community step up and support complete strangers in a time of need: offering showers, beds, food and more, in the wake of this tragedy.
Listening to CFCW on the way home, we heard more than one person offer just that.
One woman even said if they needed her to, she would bring her trailer to them.
That, to me, is the most amazing part of human nature: the need to help those in need.
There are a few people out there, though, who have made me shake my head at their own stupidity. No matter what happened, or what you may have missed out on, you’re alive. That should be what matters.
Re. people in UFA Pavilion (just after the storm hit): In an emergency situation, bar sales are cut off. Even if you can afford to pay the ticket price to sit in a saloon all weekend and drink $6 beers, you have no right to dictate what should be done.
We, as people missing loved ones, were more worried about if they were OK than whether or not you got more beer.
When someone tells you shut up so they can hear, do it.
Next time, you could end up needing their help. Or maybe needing an EMS yourself. Don’t be ignorant.
Re. waste of money comments: To survive a disaster such as this, who cares what money is gone?
Yes, I am disappointed that the last day was cancelled as much as the next person, but you have to have some perspective over it all. You are alive. Your loved ones are alive.
Panhandle Productions can have my money.
They can have the money from the 50/50, too.
My heart goes out to all of those who were hurt, and to the family of the woman who was killed.
It’s always sad when a tragedy like this happens, but the important thing to remember is, you are alive. You survived something so scary, they make movies out of it.
Hug those you love and live your life to the fullest. It’s the greatest tribute you give to those who have lost someone they love.