Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of a devastating natural disaster that killed a fan and injured members of Billy Currington’s band when a storm whipped through the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta.
The Big Valley producers halted the 2009 festival after the stage collapsed, though they didn’t fold up their tent permanently. The Jamboree was back at the same site this weekend, and attendance for the first two days was up over last year by 10%, according to The Edmonton Journal.
Not that last year was forgotten. During that edition of the Jamboree, a freak storm amassed with little or no warning while Billy was onstage Aug. 1. He was hospitalized briefly with a concussion. His bass player, Alex Stevens, was pinned underneath the stage for 30 minutes and required surgery for a severed artery in his left arm. Two members of Kevin Costner’s band, Modern West, were injured at the side of the stage, one fan was crushed to death when speakers toppled on her, and about 75 other concert-goers were injured.
So when the Jamboree resumed this year, “Amazing Grace” was played Saturday, CBC News reported, to remember Donna Moore, the fan who died. And when lightning started snapping in the distance during Miranda Lambert’s set on Friday, producers had her take a break just four songs into her set. Ultimately, they erred on the side of safety and shut down the show for the night.
The musicians who were there when the sky got ugly last year remember it all too well — particularly when stormy conditions emerge now.
“Whenever the wind has blown whenever we’ve been on an outside stage, I see [the band] get a little edgy,” Kevin told the Canadian Press. “They’ll hear a noise and they’ll look in a way they may not have a day earlier. So it has marked them and changed them.”
Kevin’s road manager was covered in blood during the disaster a year ago, and Kevin “realized how tenuous life is” in that moment. But Kevin issued a statement at that time saying he hoped to return to Alberta and “help with the healing.” It’s part of the reason that he and Modern West thought it important to play in Camrose this year.
“You can’t go through life being a scaredy cat,” he said.