Three people are reported dead and dozens injured after a stage collapsed during heavy storms at the Belgian music festival Pukkelpop.
Torrential rain and strong winds swept through the festival site on Thursday causing widespread damage; tearing down stage rigging, light towers and TV screens.
"The Pukkelpop organisation has decided to cancel all shows tonight out of respect for the victims. Fleet Foxes - We are all safe at Pukkelpop. Crazy storm. Our hearts go out to all who lost their lives or were injured in today's storm at Pukkelpop. Big Love xxx
This is the fourth major stage collapse at a music event since July. At least five people have been killed and dozens more injured after a stage collapsed at Belgium's Pukkelpop festival.
The Chateau stage was destroyed when severe storms uprooted several trees and caused them to crush the platform. A second stage was also damaged by trees.
Pukkelpop organisers confirmed early on Friday morning that the entire event has now been canceled, saying in a statement: "Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. The statement continued by emphasising that the decision to cancel the festival was "extremely difficult". Organisers also encouraged festival attendees to return home "calmly", promising extra buses and trains to help people leave the site.
Festival bosses had originally hoped to proceed as planned on Friday morning after safety checks.
Last weekend, a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair shortly before country duo Sugarland were due to perform. A violent storm that lashed an outdoor rock music festival in northern Belgium killed at least five people after uprooting trees and collapsing two stages, local officials said. Tens of thousands of people were attending the outdoor Pukkelpop festival when the storm broke Thursday,
toppling one stage on concert-goers at the annual event held in Kiewit near the town of Hasselt.
"The storm hit Thursday afternoon on the Pukkelpop festival, held near the town of Hasselt, and killed at least five people," Hasselt mayor Hilde Claes told local radio amid reports that more than 40 people were also injured, several seriously.
The wind blew violently," said festival-goer Catherine Blaise, according to Le Soir newspaper.
A strong gust of wind brought down the stage rigging for a concert by country music stars Sugarland, killing five people and injuring 45 others.