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New Orleans festival Bayou Boogaloo’s Friday canceled due to severe weather

New Orleans music festival Bayou Boogaloo cancelled the first day of their 2018 edition, Friday (5/18) due to damage sustained from severe rain, wind, hail and thunderstorms. As The New Orleans Advocate reports:

The site of the 2018 Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival along the banks of Bayou St. John suffered significant damage during a freakishly strong thunderstorm that erupted over New Orleans on Friday afternoon.

High winds toppled concession booths and fences, tore up tents and generally wreaked havoc as water from a heavy downpour pooled across the grounds.

As a result, Bayou Boogaloo organizers canceled the event for Friday. They hope to reopen as scheduled on Saturday at 11 a.m.

The music was slated to kick off at 5 p.m. Friday. The thunderstorm hit less than two hours before the festival gates were to open, bringing with it lightning, hail, high winds and heavy rain. Streets flooded in some part of the city, including near the Boogaloo site.

The storm damage and subsequent cancellation capped off a dramatic 24 hours for the 13-year-old Bayou Boogaloo.

On Thursday night, organizers rescinded a plan to charge admission after 3 p.m. each day of the festival.

Admission to the previous 12 Boogaloos was free. The new cover charge, announced several weeks ago, was touted as a way to offset production costs and – ironically enough, as it turned out – guard against weather-related shortfalls in concession and merchandise sales.

The last-minute revoking of the cover charge resulted from a permitting issue related to staging a ticketed, rather than free, event on city property. Plans made in the last days of the Landrieu mayoral administration apparently did not carry over smoothly to the newly installed Cantrell administration.

“We planned this year’s event with a ticketed-admission, free-until-3 model with an agreement in hand with City Hall,” said Jared Zeller, the festival’s producer, in the news release announcing the change. “We found out (Thursday) we need more time to implement that plan. So now we are focused on putting on another great Bayou Boogaloo.”

In the wake of Friday’s severe weather, Zeller and his team faced the additional challenge of rebuilding and rehabilitating the site enough to open on Saturday.

A message from the festival on Twitter just before 6 PM warned attendees about the weather. Vendors, caterers, staff, and others who were on site took to social media to describe the storm damage, which you can see below. The entire area suffered flooding, and damage to stages, tents, and other structures.

Bayou Boogaloo hasn’t given word on the status of the remaining two scheduled days of the festival yet.

Main stage

A post shared by Joshua Mcgowan (@joshua_spidey_mcgowan) on

Boogaloo safety. We good.#bayouboogaloo

A post shared by Sam Rich (@badbitchrich) on

So much for bayou boogaloo

A post shared by Lucky (@luckylovesyou555) on

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