A music festival can often hinge on the weather report. Sunniness really does go a long way to improving the whole experience, while too much rain puts a dampener on any of the fun that is to be had around the campsite. Regardless if your favourite band is playing, being soaked through to the bone and shivering is not an enjoyable experience. But sometimes weather can turn extreme, and rain is the last of peoples worries. Especially when festival goers are holed up in flimsy tents which provide very little protection from the elements, the situation can become perilous.
Take Benicassim for example, in 2009 the Spanish festival was beaten with severe winds said to reach speeds of 70mph. The former lead singer of The Jam, Paul Weller, had to leave the stage mid-performance as it was swaying dangerously, putting himself and the crowd at risk. In the aftermath, headliners Kings of Leon were forced to pull out because of irreparable damage to the surrounding stage and the lighting equipment.
One fan described the scene saying: “It was a bit of a nightmare. It started clouding over at about 6 o'clock and getting quite windy then but by the time we got to the festival around 10, when Paul Wellar was on, it was just ridiculous. I've not seen wind like it. The site itself is on a disused industrial site and it's got loads of sand around it, so that was just going flying everywhere into people's eyes. It was chaos.”
In 2007, Wakestock Festival which is held on the Welsh coast near Abersoch endured similar conditions and had to be cancelled after 2 days of heavy rain completely flooded the site. The Friday night went ahead despite the atrocious weather, however security were ordered to close the car parks soon after due to waterlogging. This was a shame for people who made the journey to see the likes of Dirty Pretty Things, Mark Ronson and Ferry Corsten who were all scheduled to play.
So if you are going to a music festival this year, make sure you are prepared for severe weather warnings. They have a habit of sprouting up when you least want them to.