Stage collapses at European music festival; several deaths already reported


Image Credit: Yves Logghe/AP Images

Yet another stage collapse plagues the summer of 2011: A structure in Belgium collapsed today at the Pukkelpop Music Festival in Hasselt (pictured at left), and authorities have already confirmed at least four deaths.

Foo Fighters and 30 Seconds to Mars were among the headliners; Chicago indie rockers the Smith Westerns were set to perform next and lost all of their equipment, though they were not physically injured.

UPDATE: Footage from the collapse has surfaced online. Watch it here:

Smith Westerns frontman Cullen Omori, who wasn’t yet aware of the deaths, took to Twitter to document the events as they unfold. “Stage collapsed max almost got crushed by the tress,” Omori tweeted about an hour ago from his smartphone. “I hope pukkelpop has insurance bc all our s–t is broke.” Soon after, Omori tweeted the following: “Praying no one got hurt. Wtf.”


There’s evidence to suggest the collapse was weather-related: Earlier in the day, Omori tweeted, “Looks like it’s going to rain. #tentstage #teeheehee,” and weather reports confirm that it’s been a stormy, windy afternoon in Hasselt.

It’s been a bad month for outdoor stage structures: A stage collapsed at a Flaming Lips concert in Tulsa on Aug. 8, and an Indiana stage collapse killed five Sugarland fans and injured dozens of others last weekend.

The remainder of today’s Pukkelpop event has been canceled.

UPDATE: Some news outlets are reporting one death, others as many as six; we’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

UPDATE: Cullen Omori issued a statement earlier today via Pitchfork: “We had just finished the first song of our set at Pukkelpop when the stage/tent started shaking and simply thought it was a storm passing through. I made a comment about Cheap Trick and we were about to play the next one when our tour manager yelled at me to run off the stage. Right then the tress collapsed 1 foot in front of [guitarist] Max [Kakacek]. At this point we thought only the stage broke, not the tent. Amid the chaos it was hard to tell exactly what had happened, but after the rescue teams started coming in it became clear that there were severe injuries and we are now being told there are reports of multiple deaths. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones in today’s tragedy.”

More on
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Sugarland will hold memorial for 5 stage collapse victims
Music Review: The Smith Westerns’ ‘Dye It Blonde’


Comments (107 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3
  • Michael

    I love Smith Westerns.

    • Lucifer


      With the headline “FOUR DEAD IN STAGE COLLAPSE” and then showing a picture of the FOUR people in the band THE SMITH WESTERNS, the first assumption is that those band members are dead!!!!

      Whoever published this needs a refresher course in intelligent journalism! God you are morons!

      • crispy

        In their defense, the “4 Dead” part was added later as the story developed. (And to be clear, I wouldn’t have made a joke about this had that part been originally included)

      • Actually

        I didn’t get that the people in the picture were the ones who were dead. Why? Because I worked in journalism, and no editor in his right mind would have passed on the opportunity to pump up the headline as: “MUSIC GROUP MEMBERS KILLED IN… blah blah blah STAGE CRASH.” If anything, you need to calm the hell down.

      • Nancy

        It’s just the powers that be telling the Foo Fighters and 30 Seconds to Mars that they don’t really care too much for your music. End of quote.

      • jen

        It’s windy and raining like crazy.. Maybe get the heck out of the way of that stage that is swinging back and forth perhaps? No, that’s just too easy. Let’s stand there and film it.

      • wino

        Lucifer is right (never thought i would type that)….a very misleading photo with the intial story. EW is going down on the slippery slope towards TMZ territory.

      • Grandmother

      • kal

        This is what happens when you listen to the Devil’s music, people. This won’t happen ever again once President-Elect Bachmann is in office and forbids rock-n-roll music..BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a celebrity !they met via
        Celebmingle.C óM is the largest and best club for celebrity and their admirers to chat online. …You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try,Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends!

      • Stick it in Your BUTT!

        Quite obvious why you workED in “journalism” (your choice of phrase), and are not workING in “journalism.” Your writing skills and logic center suk big time. Get back to flipping those burgers!

    • jdiv79

      Wow EW you scared the hell out of me. Your headline made it seem like the Smith Westerns were the ones who died. This is a tragedy for sure, but jeez. For a second there I thought my favorite band had been killed.

      • Dave

        Thank god it was not the band, and just some normal people.

      • SCBR

        Seriously? Like it matters who the people who lost their lives were? That’s a terrible comment!

      • jdiv79

        Sorry for that. I was trying to comment more on the quality of EW’s reporting. Sorry for the disrespect. Obviously it’s a tragedy, no matter who dies. I really do love this band, and sorry that I got carried away.

      • Nancy

        “The sky suddenly turned pitch black and we took shelter waiting for the rain. Then suddenly, there was a downpour. The wind blew violently, and the autotune was suddenly turned off due to lack of electricity.”

      • yummycupcake

        wow. you are an @ss. think before you type. i would give the same advice to that bonehead band too.

    • Olive

      Thank god it was not the band, and just some normal people.
      ~~~ am a young and beautiful single mother.I have a lovely daughter。but i still feel lonely,so i upload my hot pics on Mysingleparentmatch.C óM under the name of flyer009 in order to seek a single father who can love me and my daughter
      ..If you are interested,contact me plzzz,I’m serious.

      • nick

    • OH PLEASE!

      The ONLY reason you are ‘reporting’ this is because of what happened to that bunch of hicks a few days ago. 99% of Americans can’t spell or locate Belgium anyway.

      • @OH PLEASE

        Bunch of hicks????? YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO THOSE PEOPLE WERE. Several of the the injured were neighbors of mine from my area in Cincinnati. Young, beautiful women who had a future. Unlike you, you heartless, friendless loser. Go to hell.

  • crispy

    God hates skinny jeans.

    • Karate Pants

      Seems like everyone was devastated by the loss…of the band’s equipment.

      • Nancy

        Shows off your junk.

      • jen

        You should have been to urklepop last year. It was great.

    • Summer

      Everyone who wears that fad is a moron.

  • One Average Mustache

    I heard this was staged.

    • Actually

      You are SO going on my Facebook page.

      • Nancy

        “There were hailstones bigger than a centimeter falling … Trees toppled over. It was unbelievable, the end of the world, just without Britney Spears headlining the show”

  • Devil Music

    This is what happens when you listen to the Devil’s music, people. This won’t happen ever again once President-Elect Bachmann is in office and forbids rock-n-roll music.

    • Don’t forget

      that Marcus plans to replace “The Star Spangled Banner” with “The Superstar Spangled Banner.”

    • Nancy

      “While the storm raged on many European fans cheered emphatically as they were luckily spared having to stand through Eminem and The Offspring in the rain”

  • Greg

    The timing with this and the Indiana disaster is indeed eerie. Sugarland and the Smith Westerns – united by strange weather-related tragedy!

    • Nancy

      It’s God’s way of telling you to stop with the devil’s music and go buy some Beatles albums.

      • Jason

        Beatles is also devil music.

  • Sigrid

    Hi, I live in a village near Hasselt and I’ve experienced the storm. The world looked apocalyptic. It was one big chaos, people were panicked and meanwhile, stages were collapsing. I was at home and even I was scared! Imagine it if you were at Pukkelpop! I got friends who are now there. I don’t know if they are still alive. Oh yeah, and it’s a shame that people say things like “I’m glad it happened to them and not US citizens.”

    • Elien

      Ik hoop dat uw vrienden en de mijne allemaal ok zijn.

      • Sigrid

        Inderdaad! Een paar van mij hebben al bevestigd dat ze in orde zijn of zijn simpelweg naar huis gekomen. Pffff… Gij ook nog veel succes dan.

      • Nancy

        “the sky got dark, winds picked up violently and hailstones pelted those gathered, and The Offspring were rudely interrupted from their cocaine usage and hanging out with very attractive European teenage girls”

      • Lily

        Dit kan overal gebeuren… This can happen anytime, anywhere… during a music festival, a political event or even religeous open air gathering…

    • Musica1

      I’m so sorry about your losses there. The only people making rude comments like the one you mentioned are idiots who would make rude comment even if it were Americans, They don’t really care. They just get pleasure out of knowing they upset people.

      • tom

        ummmm i am an american and i care or i would not have read the article…..bite me

  • e4ia

    “Human Centipede 3: I Hope No One Gets Too Excited”

    • Mike

      Looks like EW changed up the pic on ya so now that doesn’t make any sense. Too bad. I thought it was kinda funny when I saw it earlier.

  • Yiyi

    A copycat collapse?

    • Nancy

      Rain or Shine, your ticket money is mine. Thanks for playing!

  • Lepertum

    Actually only 3 dead are confirmed so far.

  • River

    Jared’s most recent tweets:
    @jaredleto: PUKKELPOP UPDATE: Two confirmed dead. 40 at the hospital. Sending our thoughts and prayers

  • Elien

    So many of my friends are there and I haven’t heard anything :(

    • Bill

      Organizers estimated some 60,000 people were at the three-day festival, which started Thursday, when the storm broke. Many were leaving the grounds after the storm that turned the festival site into a scene of mud and destruction in a matter of about 10 minutes.

  • CaptainObvious

    Stage collapse killing 4, REEEEEAL ORIGINAL!

  • abby

    And there was also a stage collapse in Ontario last month. People were injured there too.

    • Nancy

      yeah, but nobody ever goes to Ontario

    • talkin’

      The stage collapse in Ottawa in July injured one of Cheap Trick’s crew and two others.
      The reason there were no deaths is that it fell backwards, not toward the audience.
      This now makes 4 major stage collapses this summer, all occurring in sudden, huge storms.
      My condolences for lives lost.

      • Lily

        Lots of lessons to learn !

  • Kevin

    That’s horrible. Glad Smith Westerns weren’t hurt. One of my favorite new bands.

    • Dave

      Don’t worry only normal folk were killed, not your special band.

      • Nancy

        What melts in your mouth and under the stage? M&M fans.

  • Lucifer


    With the headline “FOUR DEAD IN STAGE COLLAPSE” and then showing a picture of the FOUR people in the band THE SMITH WESTERNS, the first assumption is that those band members are dead!!

    Whoever published this needs a refresher course in intelligent journalism! God you are morons!

    • jen

      Look everybody! It’s the human centipad creature from Southpark.

Page: 1 2 3
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