Wind, Rain Collapse Stages At Rocklahoma


July 13, 2008

Jennifer Chancellor of Tulsa World reports that winds in excess of 60 mph were blamed for the collapse of two stages at the Rocklahoma festival grounds at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Heavy rain, lightning and winds brought the ’80s metal festival to a halt, but advance warning kept injuries to a minimum as thousands of festival-goers sought refuge in nearby tents, outbuildings, VIP areas and trailers. By 8 p.m., rock band Lynch Mob took the main stage for a shortened set as organizers kept an eye on the weather.

One person broke an arm and was transported to the Mayes County Medical Center, Mayes County Sheri4 Frank Cantey said. About 10 other people had minor injuries that didn’t require treatment, he said.

Cantey said 65 mph winds in the area caused the stages to collapse.

“Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured,” said Rob Miller, president of Event Marketing Group, the company that organizes Rocklahoma.

One girl broke her arm when she slipped and fell in mud while running to escape the onslaught of rain, he said.

Intricate rigging, amps and metal pillars holding lighting, banners and electrical gear on the north and south side stages “fell in slow motion, like someone took a finger and pushed them forward,” said 12-year-old Nate Cook, who had taken shelter in a nearby merchandise tent when the rain started.

Metal lattice work over a story high crumpled onto both stage areas. The jumbo projection screens flanking the main stage were also damaged.

Security guards manned the nearby tents, asking patrons to seek shelter in safer structures until they could determine the safety of the areas nearest the side stages.

“The lights went off, everything went,” said Tommy Gunn, whose band, Hollywood Harlot, was scheduled to perform on the stage on Sunday. “Stu* was thrown everywhere, it was a total mess.”

Cook saw it, too: “The stage hands came out and told everyone to take cover, so there wasn’t really anybody near the stages when it happened,” he said. Rock act Cutlass was starting its set on the north stage, and Lynam the south stage. Both acts had left the areas to seek shelter.

“Everything started to rock back and forth, then the columns started to bend,” Cook said.

At 7:40 p.m., as thunder rumbled in the distance, Miller said that organizers were doing what they could to get music started on the main stage, which wasn’t damaged.

“We’re keeping an eye out on the weather … safety first,” he said.

By 8 p.m. rock act Lynch Mob was on stage as crowds slowly made their way back to the platform areas. Two other acts, Lita Ford and Warrant, also were expected to perform later Saturday, Miller said.

The side stages will likely be “out of commission” through Sunday, the last day of the five-day festival, Miller said.

The forecast called for a chance of light showers and thunderstorms throughout the night with scattered thunderstorms Sunday.

Cantey said earlier in the day a woman became sick at the music festival and was taken to a nearby hospital. She had diabetes, was on dialysis and went into cardiac arrest, the sheriff said.

Below is fan filmed footage of the fallen side-stages at Rocklahoma.

Courtesy of