One person died and two others remained in critical condition Sunday (Aug. 2) after a portion of the main stage collapsed at the Big Valley Jamboree, a major country music festival in Canada. Billy Currington had just completed his performance when the accident occurred Saturday (Aug. 1) at the festival in Camrose, Alberta, a community located approximately 60 miles from Edmonton.
The identity of the person killed has not been released, but reports indicate it was not one of the singers or musicians performing at the festival. According to the Edmonton Sun, Currington appeared to have been cut on the face by a falling pole. The newspaper also said his bassist, Shaun Smith, was pulled from the stage area by emergency responders. Photos of Currington and Smith showed them walking away from the debris.
With high winds and heavy rain moving toward the festival grounds, the performances had been postponed and security crews were clearing fans out of the concert when the stage collapsed at approximately 6 p.m. PT. One of the audience members, Ernie Gratton, told the newspaper, “The wind was unbelievably intense. We just followed the crowd out. My eyes were full of sand. There were tents flying all over the place.” Danny Hooper, an air personality for CFCW in Edmonton, told listeners, “I can’t describe the sky. It was brown and purple and green. The massive wind blew me backwards.”
At least 75 people with various injuries were treated at area medical facilities. Emergency personnel worked throughout the night to account for all of those attending the festival.
The concert promoter has canceled all of Sunday’s activities, including appearances by Tracy Lawrence and Tim McGraw. The four-day festival began Thursday with a lineup that included Joe Diffie and the Kentucky HeadHunters. Josh Turner and Glen Campbell were among those appearing Friday. Kevin Costner and his band, Modern West, were scheduled to follow Currington onstage to perform prior to Saturday’s headliner, Gary Allan.
“We are deeply saddened by the events of Saturday night,” concert producer Larry Werner said in a written statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families, fans and friends impacted by this incident.”