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Weather Disaster at Gig - I'm Lucky to be Alive

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Richland123, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Last Saturday, we were scheduled to play at a big festival in my hometown. I book all the bands and I have two a big stages and professional sound. We were to play under a 50 foot X 200 foot tent.

    There were thunderstorm warnings but it was sunny most of the day. We were doing our soundcheck and I was asked to make an announcement that there was a bad storm coming and for people to take shelter. My mic was not on yet and I told the sound man that once my mic was live that I had to make the announcement.

    We were about 1-2 minutes from starting and I was going to make the announcement when the sky turned dark and the tent started to get lifted off the ground. I saw a huge tent support post break like a twig and shoot across the tent in front of me. The support ropes and stakes ripped out of the pavement. The huge P.A. stack on the opposite side of the stage fell over like dominoes and our guitarist was thrown to the ground with his guitar and his amp fell over. Next, the drummer/keyboardist jumped off the back of stage and his drums, keyboards, and gear fell into a heap. Tables and chairs were being thrown around in the air while other support posts were falling over and the tent collapsed.

    All I could do was bend over in front of my amp while holding my bass, which was on at the time. My amp rig saved me as the tent fell onto my bass head and across my back. The 50 mile an hour wind gusts kept lifting the tent up and down slapping across my back. Just then the P.A. stack on my side all tumbled to the ground and the power panels crashed to the ground and were still live. I could not move and heard people screaming and running.

    When the wind stopped in about 30 seconds, the sound man realized my amp and I were the only two things left standing under the tent. He crawled under the tent and asked if I was okay, which I was. He said, "We need to get you out of here and let's lay your amp down". He pulled my amp head off the cabinet and we laid the cabinet flat. He said, "Just take your bass!" and he held the tent up while I got out. The tent then collapsed across the entire stage and and sound gear. When I got out, it looked like a disaster movie scene. There was a really large inflatable ride that was pulled off the ground and thrown completely over the big tent into the opposite craft vendor area about 100 feet from where it was. I could see many vendor tents and booths all twisted up and debris everywhere. I got somebody to turn all the power off to the area since the power panels were on the ground and juiced and it started to rain.

    Thankfully, there were only a few minor injuries. The property damage was bad but could have been much worse. If the wind storm would have hit 20 - 30 minutes later, there would have been many more injuries or worse since people were starting to fill up the festival grounds and we usually have 10,000 - 15,000 people there on Saturday evenings. If I would have made the "take shelter" announcement earlier, there would have been more injuries since everybody would have gone under the big tent.

    The good news is that I am physically fine. Also, when the tent covered the stage area, it kept all the gear dry during the rain. The sound man at the other stage, which is in an open field, hurried and pulled the back side off that stage and the wind went through the stage and it was not pulled over. Plus, the band that was playing on that stage had just finished about 1 minute before it hit.

    The whole scenario happened so quickly out of nowhere. It was surreal like watching a disaster movie happen live before my eyes. It was scary.

    Here is a video as it was happening.

    The stage is on the left in the video and the tent flapping up and down in the video was slapping me on the back.

    Here is a photo of part of the collapsed stage tent. We were set up on the right in this photo and that is where I was stuck under the tent.

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  2. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Glad nothing more than a few injuries occurred...
    JmJ likes this.
  3. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Oh my! What a harrowing experience. I'm glad you lived to play another day.

    EDIT: Wow! The added video makes it even scarier. :nailbiting: :jawdrop:

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    pjbassist likes this.
  4. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Wow, just Wow! I hit the like button only because you're ok.

    I played a beach gig one time where a rouge gust of wind lifted the 12 x 24 canopy covering us up and blew it back into the green room tent behind the stage. That was scary enough. I can't imagine what you went through. Really glad things weren't worse.

    You definitely have a story to tell for years to come.
    Morrighan likes this.
  5. Man that is wild! Glad you are well and your gear is good too. Very lucky!
  6. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Wow. Crazy crazy crazy. Really glad you're OK.
  7. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Another reason why I hate outdoor gigs.
    Glad to see your OK.
    47th Street likes this.
  8. markoc


    Jan 6, 2014
    North San Diego
    Wow, you obviously need to fire the drummer for this.
    Scary stuff, worst gig ever??
  9. YIKES! :nailbiting:
    Glad you're OK.

    What does a bass player do during a tornado?
    Takes shelter next to his amp.
  10. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Glad you're ok.
    We rarely get anything like severe weather here in Ireland, which has the unfortunate result of our weather reporters justifying themselves by over-exaggerating any sort of weather warning, which results in most people ignoring them.
  11. We have the same problem on this side of the pond. Only fir a different reason.
    In Nebraska, the tornado sirens mean go outside and see if you can see the danged thing.
    StyleOverShow, Ellery, Mktrat and 4 others like this.
  12. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    I'm glad you're OK.
  13. Inky13


    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    Whew! Glad all is well. Was that a micro burst or what?
  14. Rayjay


    Sep 27, 2014
    Lahaina, Maui, HI

    True story, just as I read this my phone went off with an emergency thunderstorm alert!
  15. Glad you're okay.

    From tornadoes to hurricanes to blizzards to drought, the United States is generally as having the most extreme weather on the planet.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  16. mc900ftj


    Jan 21, 2014
    Glad you're OK. Testmonial for large rigs at outdoor venues.
    StyleOverShow and Joe Ty like this.
  17. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Glad that you are uninjured.
  18. glad you are ok.. that is crazy.
  19. Glad you are ok.

    Every time it storms and I know the company I used to work for has a stage set up somewhere, I am glad I retired from that line of work. Storms and stages dont go together!

  20. Mother Nature is pretty scary when she's pissed off. I've been close to a couple of tornadoes and wind storms strong enough to rip shingles off of roofs and it's pretty scary.

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