Sonic Temple cancels sets from Refused, Distillers, more due to severe weather
Rock festivals are having a tough time this season. Earlier this month, the inaugural Epicenter Festival had its Saturday evacuated and cut short, cancelling sets from Tool and others, and this weekend, both days of Chicago Open Air had delayed doors for weather-related reasons. Meanwhile, Columbus, OH's inaugural Sonic Temple had its own weather interruptions on Sunday (5/19). Early in the afternoon on Twitter, the festival warned attendees that periodic high winds "may cause starts, stops and production delays as we work to keep the site safe." Soon after they asked campers and tailgaters to "take all tents down from your areas as it is not safe with our current high winds;" an announcement that one of the festival's stages was closing followed. Attendees were moved from the field to the stands at one point in the afternoon, and at 6 PM, the grounds were evacuated for 90 minutes.
The Hives had the last song of their set cut off, while their tourmates Refused, along with The Distillers, Scars on Broadway, Bring Me The Horizon, and Chevelle had their sets cancelled. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were moved to a later set time after the festival reopened, and Foo Fighters closed out the night as scheduled.
The festival released a statement about the evacuation and cancellations on their site:
Fans, Friends, and the City of Columbus,
On behalf of everyone at DWP, I want to personally thank you for the support and encouragement you have shown us over the past year. It broke my heart to see the end of Rock on the Range and I don't think that I ever effectively communicated that to you. It became my mission to bring you something even better. I could not be prouder of what my team accomplished at Sonic Temple this weekend. It was so fulfilling to see all of you enjoy the amazing bands, art installations, comedy, and culinary experiences. In almost every way, the inaugural Sonic Temple was everything I had imagined it to be. Until tonight.
At the end of the day, there are two things that we can't control and that really put an outdoor festival at risk - lightning and wind. Beginning early today, we were experiencing high intermittent winds that caused concern. For safety reasons, first we shut down the Wave Stage. Then we cleared the floor of the main stage for safety. We worked with Columbus' incredible fire marshals, law enforcement, the state highway patrol and fair grounds, as well as the amazing team at Mapfre Stadium, to keep the Echo Stage going as long as we could until the collective decision was made to evacuate at 5:49 pm. Unfortunately, each of these decisions meant you didn't get to see another band. The DWP Team and I take great lengths to hand select every artist and I want you to know how much it personally pains me for you to not get to experience even one of them.
Yet despite the disappointment, we are so grateful for how quickly and safely you exited the festival grounds and how patient you were until we could re-open the doors. It was incredibly rewarding for me to see you all safely come back. We could feel your energy and excitement building as we got ready for the Foo Fighters to take the stage, and wow did they give us an absolutely epic performance.
We have already started planning next year's Sonic Temple and have some very exciting things in the works. Columbus is a special place for me and this weekend was incredibly important in my relationship with each of you. I hope that we have regained the faith and trust that you have shown us all these years. We're already looking forward to next year!
Refused and The Distillers made up for their cancelled sets by announcing a last minute late night show at Ace of Cups, with proceeds going to Ohio statewide abortion fund Women Have Options (Ohio, like Alabama, recently passed a new abortion law putting severe limitations on the procedure). Watch video clips from the show below.
Like fellow Danny Wimmer-presented festival Epicenter, Sonic Temple sold $1 tickets in the days leading up to the festival.