Croatian hip-hop festival Fresh Island was evacuated after a huge forest fire erupted in Zrce Beach on Monday night (7/15), CNN reports. The festival posted a series of updates to Facebook, beginning with:
Due to the fire behind the far side of Zrce we have paused tonight’s performance under instruction from the police and fire service as a safety precaution. Security have escorted fans to the beach and parking behind Noa Club and will direct people to shuttle buses leaving from the top of Noa Club parking near the main road to take people to Novalja town. We advise everyone to please use the buses provided to get back to the town. The safety of everyone at the festival is our utmost priority and we appreciate everyone’s patience during this time.
The road to Novalja was then closed by police:
UPDATE: Due to the ongoing fire we have now been instructed by the police that they have had to shut the road to Novalja and unfortunately will not let buses pass through. Zrce Beach is now closed for safety precautions. We advise everyone to remain close to Noa Club main road entrance and not to attempt to make their way back to the town until the emergency services have provided further information on the situation. Once again we really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time.
Buses began to be let through later, although the fire continued to burn, making the town unsafe to walk through.
Update: Some buses have been let through by police escort to take people back to Novalja. The police have confirmed it is not safe to walk back to the town as the fire is still not contained. We are working to bring more buses back to Noa Club parking entrance to bring everyone home safely ASAP. As soon as we have further updates we will let you know.
Update: The forest fire caused further road closures but thankfully police are escorting buses through to collect any remaining festival goers from the gas station South East of Noa Club parking entrance. Buses will be returning until everyone has been transported safely back to Novalja. We’d like to thank everyone for there patience during this difficult time and we will share further updates on the festival soon.
Fresh Island then released a statement, saying that attendees had been moved to a location a safe distance from the fire:
There was a forest fire near to Zrce Beach last night. After being advised by the police and emergency services to evacuate due to heavy winds, we guided festival goers to the parking area near Noa Club which was a safe distance from the fire.
The safety of fans is incredibly important to us and we worked with the emergency services to contain the fire over the following hours, transporting festival goers off site when possible and safe.
The emergency services are still working to contain the remaining fire so we can’t say just yet how this will affect today’s beach performances. Rest assured we’re doing everything we can to go ahead as planned to continue the parties.
We would like to say a big thank you to all Fresh Islanders who were at the festival for being so patient and supportive of each other and for cooperating with security and emergency services during the fire to stay safe.
We will share a further update with you ASAP.
As of this morning, emergency services were finally able to put out the fire, the festival writes:
GREAT NEWS! 💙🙏🏼🏝
The emergency services have now cleared the fire, reopened the road and deemed the route and Zrce Beach to be safe. Shuttle buses are also running as scheduled from Novalja.
We are therefore pleased to confirm that Fresh Island will continue as planned with no further disruptions, starting with Tim Westwood’s Notorious after beach party at 4pm in Papaya.
To ensure your safety when travelling to the festival, please ensure to keep to the roads at all times and not to enter the woodland area affected by last night’s fire.
Thanks again for everyone’s patience and we look forward to seeing you on the beach again very soon!
*starting at Papaya pool area than switching to Papaya main area
Tyga's scheduled performance was cancelled while the fire raged, and NOT3S posted to Twitter, "they are saying I can’t perform."
Other performers on the festival's lineup include Tory Lanez, Stefflon Don, Gunna, Yxng Bane, Hardy Caprio, Afro B, and B Young.
Attendees posted pictures and video from the fire and evacuation to social media; see their clips below.