Pukkelpop Music Festival to Return Despite Stage Collapse
Pukkelpop Music Festival to Return Despite Stage Collapse

At least three people died and more than 70 others were injured today when a stage collapsed as a result of storms at the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium, according to the Associated Press.

The head of emergency planning in the Belgian town of Hasselt, where the annual festival takes place, said three people died, 11 people were seriously injured and 60 sustained light injuries when a storm hit the open air music festival.

The remainder of the festival's programming, which goes through Saturday (Augst 20), has been put on hold.

Smith Westerns, a rock band from Chicago, were about to take to the Chateau stage when, according to reports, a tree was toppled over in the severe weather.

The band's singer/guitarist Cullen Omori tweeted that the "Stage collapsed max almost got crushed by trees, I hope pukkelpop has insurance bc all our shit is broke." The message on the Twitter account has since been deleted and replaced with a note of apology after Omori realized the severity of the situation.

The Pukkelpop festival is held near the town of Hasselt, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Brussels.

Started in 1985, Pukkelpop has featured headliners like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, Metallica and the Beastie Boys. Foo Fighters, Eminem and the Offpsring were slated to be 2011's headliners on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, respectively; other acts confirmed for Thursday included Thirty Seconds to Mars, James Blake, Explosions in the Sky and Panic! at the Disco.

The 2011 Pukkelpop fest has eight different stages, including the Main Stage with acts like the Foos, Thirty Seconds to Mars and Rise Against set for Thursday; the Dance Hall, scheduled to feature Chromeo and Katy B; and the Club stage, with buzz-worthy acts like Fitz & the Tantrums and the Naked and Famous. The Chateau stage, which featured acts like Destroyer, Royal Bangs and Wolf People, collapsed on Thursday before scheduled groups like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Kurt Vile & the Violators could perform.

Today's stage collapse is the latest of at least three other similar accidents to occur this summer at outdoor concerts. In July, the stage at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest fell while the band Cheap Trick was on stage; on August 8 a lighting rig fell before a Flaming Lips gig in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and just this past Sunday, five were killed at the Indiana State Fair when wind brought down the stage before the band Sugarland was set to perform. The rash of stage collapses this summer has led to many in the industry to call for greater regulation.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press and Billboard Staff