A violent storm swept through the Eurockéennes de Belfort site on Thursday, injuring seven people, including one seriously, thus spoiling the return of one of the biggest festivals in France after two editions canceled due to Covid-19: Thursday evening, as well as Friday, had to be cancelled. “Today at 4:30 p.m., when the festival had just opened its doors, a violent gust of wind accompanied by very heavy rain caused the fall of a light structure, in the shape of a marquee, in front of the Eurockéennes gate , which caused seven injuries, one of whom required his evacuation to the hospital for multiple fractures, “explained Thursday at the start of the evening the prefect of the Territory of Belfort, Raphaël Sodini, who came to the scene.
���� Spectacular images of an Internet user at the @eurockeennes campsite in Belfort (90) ⚠️ The prefecture asks to avoid the campsite – Thursday evening is canceled ❌ pic.twitter.com/dr6vjIUnaB
Huge puddles of mud, trees lying in the middle of the campsite, tents blown away and the main stage damaged: the violent storm caused serious damage to the Malsaucy peninsula, where the festival is held. “The damage is significant”, noted Matthieu Pigasse, president of the association Territoire de Musiques, organizer of the Eurockéennes. “Our first objective is to ensure the safety of festival-goers, teams and volunteers. The aim is to “continue the festival”, added festival director Jean-Paul Roland, but for the day on Friday “it is not possible to open the site due to the extensive damage”. Verifications must be made, which will take all day, he regretted.
Tickets for Thursday and Friday will be refunded, organizers said. And even without concerts, campers should be able to be welcomed to the site on Friday. The programming for Saturday and Sunday should not be changed, further specified the organizers who hope to see the concerts take place at the scheduled times. The Eurockéennes, crowned “best festival” in the world in March 2020 at the Arthur Awards, were initially scheduled over four days with up to 130,000 spectators expected and the Muse event concert closing on Sunday.
Falling trees also occurred outside the site on Thursday and in the rest of the department, placed on orange vigilance for thunderstorms by Météo-France. From the end of the afternoon, violent gusts swept through the Malsaucy peninsula and two very heavy downpours fell on the site when the first spectators were just beginning to arrive, noted a journalist from the Agency. France-Presse.
According to the prefect, 3,000 to 4,000 festival-goers were on the site at the time of the gales, including 2,000 campers. “On the campsite, a lot of tents were stolen,” noted Raphaël Sodini, specifying that the campers had been welcomed in a “hard structure” located on site. Many festival-goers left by car, while others were sheltered in gymnasiums.
The prefecture has activated the departmental operational center (COD). The Belgian singer Stromae and the duo Bob Sinclar and Pedro Winter, present for a tribute to “all that the French Touch has done best”, were to be the headliners of the first evening of this 32nd edition on Thursday. On Friday, fans were waiting for Clara Luciani, Nick Caves, Deeplo or even SCH.