Throughout history, the entertainment industry has witnessed numerous iconic concerts that were set to leave a lasting mark in music history. However, some of these grand events faced the unyielding force of nature and had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. The second of George Strait’s Nashville shows at the weekend had to be evacuated and cancelled after only an hour due to lightning and a rainstorm, leaving fans, many of whom had flown in from far and wide, frustrated and more than a little upset.
Obviously there is no criticism being labelled at Strait, who managed to play a two and a half hour masterclass the night before, but there was some frustration that both the opening acts, Little Big Town and Chris Stapleton, managed to play their full sets ahead of a worsening weather forecast with many fans suggesting it should have been their sets that were cut rather than the artist who has headlining the show. Here we explore five of the most famous concerts that met an unfortunate fate due to bad weather, leaving fans and artists disappointed but serving as a testament to the unpredictability of Mother Nature.
Woodstock ’69 (Bethel, New York, USA)
Arguably one of the most famous music festivals of all time, Woodstock was marred by torrential rain during its three-day run from August 15 to 17, 1969. The adverse weather conditions led to a massive influx of attendees seeking shelter, causing traffic jams and logistical challenges. Despite the setbacks, the festival went on, and it eventually became a symbol of peace, love, and music.
The Rolling Stones’ Concert in Altamont (California, USA)
In December 1969, the Rolling Stones organized a free concert at Altamont Speedway, which was intended to be a celebration of their music and a counter-cultural event. Unfortunately, the concert faced severe weather conditions, including heavy rain and cold temperatures. Tragically, the combination of adverse weather and security issues led to violent incidents, including the death of a concertgoer, marking a dark moment in music history.
Glastonbury Festival (Pilton, UK)
Glastonbury, one of the most renowned music festivals in the world, has experienced its share of weather-related challenges. In 2005, heavy rains turned the festival grounds into a muddy quagmire, making it difficult for both artists and attendees to navigate. The festival was cancelled for a year in 2012 due to concerns about potential flooding. These incidents have highlighted the need for contingency plans and infrastructure improvements.
Paul McCartney’s Concert in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
In 1990, Paul McCartney was scheduled to perform at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro as part of his ‘The Paul McCartney World Tour.’ However, heavy rain and thunderstorms forced the cancellation of the concert, disappointing thousands of eager fans. McCartney later returned to Rio de Janeiro for a rescheduled show, but the initial cancellation remains a controversial moment for both the artist and his devoted audience. Re-scheduling an event is something we’ve seen a few times in Country music recently, particularly after Eric Church controversially cancelled one of his shows to go to a basketball game and Morgan Wallen recently cancelled a whole raft of shows because of problems with his vocals. Fair play to McCartney for going back to Brazil and not letting the weather win!
Pearl Jam at Roskilde Festival (Roskilde, Denmark)
In 2000, the Roskilde Festival witnessed a tragic incident when heavy rain led to a mudslide during Pearl Jam’s performance. Nine concertgoers lost their lives, and the festival’s organizers made the understandable decision to cancel the remaining performances. This incident brought attention to the importance of safety measures and weather preparedness at large-scale music events.
The entertainment industry has many iconic concerts that had to be cancelled due to bad weather, leaving a profound impact on artists, fans, and organisers alike. These incidents serve as a reminder of the unpredictable forces of nature and the need for meticulous planning and preparedness to ensure the safety and enjoyment of attendees at music events. Despite the setbacks, these concerts remain significant moments in music history, showcasing the resilience of both artists and their dedicated fans. George Strait fans are understandably frustrated this morning but at the same time, the health and safety of the artist & crowd remains of paramount importance. Similar to when a cricket match, here in the UK, is weather effected, maybe the industry needs to look into a sliding scale of indicators to set against ticket refund levels. Certainly watching George Strait perform only 14 of his 33 songs deserves some sort of compensation from the show organisers. A rescheduled concert or full refund seem to be the most common things called for online but what the fans want and what the organisers can afford to do are not always compatible goals.