Page last updated at 07:52 GMT, Sunday, 2 August 2009 08:52 UK

Canada festival stage collapses


One person was killed, and 15 injured, when the stage collapsed

The stage at an open-air country music festival in Canada has collapsed in sudden, high winds, killing one person and injuring 15 others.

The Associated Press news agency says one of the performers, a member of the Billy Currington band, was removed from the wreckage with a badly injured arm.

The Big Valley Jamboree, held annually near Edmonton, in central Alberta, attracts thousands of music fans.

It is not clear whether the last day of the festival on Sunday, will be held.

Spectators fled in panic as a severe thunderstorm, with high winds and rain, swept through the festival site early on Saturday evening.

People flee in panic, in strong winds under a black sky
Spectators fled in panic as the storm threw debris in all directions

One of the Billy Currington band guitarists, Doug Collins, told the Calgary Herald: "I was playing slide guitar and I have to look constantly at my hands. All of a sudden, I saw this blast coming at me and I ran off the stage.

"One amp started falling toward me and that is when it got bizarre. That's when I ran."

Billy Currington, a musician from Nashville, was unhurt.

Music fan Maris Orydzuk described what happened to Canadian broadcaster CTV: "Next thing I know there is like concrete, and there's something on my back. I can't see a thing.

"It was awful. I thought my life was ending because it was completely dark and black. There was a tiny, tiny hole that I crawled through."

The film actor Kevin Costner, and his band Modern West, were due to perform after Billy Currington.

The four-day festival is held each year at Camrose, a city about 75km (45 miles) south-east of Edmonton.

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