Wind, rain collapse stages at festival
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Sunday, July 13, 2008
7/13/08 at 4:03 AM
The second annual Rocklahoma
is delayed but injuries are minor.
PRYOR — 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,
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
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
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
“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 Lynamon 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
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,”
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
the night with scattered thunderstorms
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.
World staff writer Deon Hampton
contributed to this story.
Jennifer Chancellor 581-8346
Debris covers part of a drum set on a collapsed stage Saturday at Rocklahoma.
A powerful thunderstorm passing through Pryor damaged two of three stages during the fourth day of the Rocklahoma music festival in Pryor.