USA: Festival producer Danny Wimmer Presents was forced to cancel the second day of the Houston Open Air festival at NRG Park in Houston on September 25 due to dangerous storm systems in the area. On the advice of Weather Decision Technologies, some of the top meteorologists in the country, Danny Wimmer Presents cancelled the Sunday event soon after the show began.
Festival producer Danny Wimmer said: “The last thing we want to do is cancel a show, but we will not risk people getting hurt. It takes nearly an hour to safely evacuate a site — including consumers, staff, vendors, and artists – so they can get to safety before a major storm hits. So we have to make the evacuation decision more than an hour in advance, even if there is still a chance the storm might not hit.”
Wimmer continued: “I read all the comments on our social media, and I understand the frustrations that some people felt, but our job is to protect everyone. I don’t make the decision lightly, but I would make the same decision again. We were seeing signs of storm cells expected to be heavy until 7:00 PM, followed by another storm from the Gulf. We drill for these situations. When the decision was made to evacuate, everyone executed perfectly.
We’ve been through this kind of experience twice before – at Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville 2015 (when a tornado hit near the site) and Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion 2013 — and are always committed to keeping people safe.
“The elements prevented us from giving Houston the rock show it deserves, but with the support of community we will come back bigger and better. We are committed to and are passionate about the rock community and the city of Houston.”
The organisers of Houston Open Air want to thank all the fans, bands, vendors, sponsors, media, Houston Police and Fire, as well as the CSC, SMG, NRG, and Event Safety Alliance teams for cooperating throughout the evacuation and clearing the venue without incident.
Houston Open Air would also like to thank radio partner KTBZ “The Buzz,” as well as Ruben Dominguez with Fox 26 and Craig Hlavaty with Newsfix and the Houston Chronicle, for their help in keeping people safe by messaging festival attendees via their social media channels during the weekend.
Fox 26 reporter Ruben Dominguez commented on his Facebook page: “The promoters had to make a very difficult decision but it came down to the safety of the patrons first and foremost. With severe storms and lighting in the area the call had to be made. But if you were there yesterday or even for a short time today you know that Houston’s hard rock and metal community showed up by the thousands. It’s been a long time since we have had something like this for fans for real rock and the people behind Houston Open Air did an amazing job putting it on. Unfortunately the weather in the bayou city can be unpredictable and dangerous. I know they are dedicated to coming back next year and I know the fans will once again show up in droves. See you guys at the next show.”
Danny Wimmer Presents CEO Danny Hayes said: “We spent hundreds of hours planning every aspect of Houston Open Air, but you can’t plan the weather, you can only have a plan to respond to it. I am proud of our team for making the difficult decision and then flawlessly executing our evacuation plan. In these situations, the only report I want to hear is that ‘no one was hurt.’ We’ve all heard about dangerous lightning and wind incidents at other music festivals around the world, and even saw an NFL game delayed due to lightning on Sunday, so it’s clear that weather issues need to be taken seriously.”
Houston Open Air was scheduled to feature a line-up of over 35 bands on three stages, led by rock heavyweights Avenged Sevenfold and Alice In Chains, along with Deftones, Chevelle, Slayer and many more. In addition, Houson Open Air included Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Whiskey Row, and a Texas-sized Gourmet Man Food experience, highlighting Houston’s emergence as a great American food city. Over 25,000 people were in attendance over the two-day weekend.