CAMROSE — One person is dead and 15 were injured Saturday after a vicious storm tore through an outdoor country music festival east of Edmonton.
Around 6 p.m. on Saturday strong winds and heavy rain began hitting the Big Valley Jamboree, said Camrose Police Chief Darrell Kambeitz.
“The concert at Big Valley Jamboree was delayed and the concert bowl was being cleared when a small portion of the main stage collapsed,” Kambeitz said in an interview.
“One individual is confirmed deceased and 15 others were injured. All of the injured have been transported to hospitals. Decisions regarding the continuation of the jamboree will be made at a later time.”
Vancouver based country music singer Jessie Ferrel said it was a terrifying experience.
“It felt like bombs were going off around us in this concrete and steel building. Huge hits of power hitting the building, and then the lights were off,” she said.
“People were missing and trying to find each other and there was a woman who was trying to tell everyone to stop panicking and she was panicking on the speakers.”
Kambeitz said more heavy rain was expected. Police have asked people staying at 6,000 camping sites in the area to stay put until the weather clears to avoid traffic snarls.
He said reports of dozens of people being trapped at the site aren’t true and that emergency crews have the situation well in hand.
Most concert-goers were seeking shelter in the large marketplace building near the main stage.
A Billy Currington band member was assisted from the wreckage. His bloodied arm was badly injured. His band was playing when the stage went down.