Severe Weather Threat Forces Cancellation of Houston Open Air Festival
The threat of dangerous storms forced organizers to cancel the second day of the Houston Open Air festival in late September. On the advice of meteorological firm Weather Decision Technologies, Houston Open Air producer Danny Wimmer Presents canceled day two of the music festival soon after the show began.
"The last thing we want to do is cancel a show, but we will not risk people getting hurt,” said Festival producer Danny Wimmer. “It takes nearly an hour to safely evacuate a site—including consumers, staff, vendors, and artists—so they can get to safety before a major storm hits. So we have to make the evacuation decision more than an hour in advance, even if there is still a chance the storm might not hit."
While some attendees were disappointed by the cancellation, Wimmer stood by the decision.
"I read all the comments on our social media, and I understand the frustrations that some people felt, but our job is to protect everyone. I don't make the decision lightly, but I would make the same decision again. We were seeing signs of storm cells expected to be heavy until 7:00 PM, followed by another storm from the Gulf. We drill for these situations. When the decision was made to evacuate, everyone executed perfectly.
Danny Wimmer Presents CEO Danny Hayes continued, "We spent hundreds of hours planning every aspect of Houston Open Air, but you can't plan the weather, you can only have a plan to respond to it. I am proud of our team for making the difficult decision and then flawlessly executing our evacuation plan.”
Wimmer and Hayes went on thank all the fans, bands, vendors, sponsors, media, Houston Police and Fire, as well as the CSC, SMG, NRG, and Event Safety Alliance teams for cooperating throughout the evacuation and clearing the venue without incident.
“In these situations, the only report I want to hear is that 'no one was hurt,” said Hayes. “We've all heard about dangerous lightning and wind incidents at other music festivals around the world, and even saw an NFL game delayed due to lightning on Sunday. It's clear that weather issues need to be taken seriously."