Outdoor festivals and concerts are popular throughout the summer months. And while a lot of preparation goes into these events, the weather can throw a wrench into the plans.
The Bluesfest in Ottawa this past weekend was a reminder of what could go wrong. A violent line of storms ripped through the city sending the main stage crumbling to the ground on Sunday evening.
Several people were taken to hospital, some of which were treated for serious injuries. Officials at the festival say they followed protocol and shut the performance down when it became apparent severe weather was moving in.
Other event organizers take a similar approach. Dave Miller, Executive Director at the Sound of Music Festival in Burlington, Ontario says they are always monitoring the weather.
“When lightning gets involved we'll shut down a stage and when heavy winds or a combination of different types of weather is coming through we'll shut down and to the point where we'll evacuate the park.”
Miller adds that they don't want people to seek shelter in the park because things like tents can be susceptible to lightning strikes or wind damage.
“The tents and the canopies tend to be our first concern in strong winds and the stage is secondary because we know we've done a good job putting a good strong stage up that is well secured to the ground,” says Miller.
Thousands of people are expected to fill the Magnetic Hill Music Festival location in Moncton, New Brunswick at the end of this month. It's the last stop for U2's North American tour and concert-goers will be eager to attend rain or shine.
Still, officials remind fans to keep their eyes on the weather.
“We do suggest that people check the weather before they head out for the day,” says Shane Porter, with the city of Moncton.
“You're not allowed to bring umbrellas on sight, but you're allowed to bring a change of clothes and a back pack so we just suggest people come prepared since it will be a long day.”