HOUSTON – Lightning prompted officials to cancel the Houston Open Air music festival Sunday afternoon.
The two-day festival at NRG Park was evacuated Saturday because of dangerous weather, but attendees were allowed back into the park later in the day.
On Sunday, people were evacuated from the festival grounds about 2:30 p.m. as a storm was approaching the area. Just after 4 p.m., organizers said they were forced to cancel the festival because of lightning in the immediate area for the remainder of the day.
"This decision is extremely upsetting to us and to all the bands that haven’t played," organizers said in a post on the festival’s Facebook page. "We worked hard to put together an amazing festival for a city that deserves an amazing festival."
According to the festival’s website, organizers will announce refund plans Wednesday morning.
The cost of tickets for the event ranged between $59.50 and $358.
Danny Wimmer Presents released a statement Monday that read in part:
"The last thing we want to do is cancel a show, but we will not risk people getting hurt. 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.
"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.
"We've been through this kind of experience twice before—at Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville 2015 (when a tornado hit near the site) and Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion 2013—and are always committed to keeping people safe.
"The elements prevented us from giving Houston the rock show it deserves, but with the support of community, we will come back bigger and better. We are committed to and are passionate about the rock community and the city of Houston."