Lightning Silences Tibetan Freedom Concert As Fans Injured

The first day of this weekend’s two-day Tibetan Freedom Concert was silenced at approximately 3:30 p.m. Eastern time when a bolt of lightning struck the field at the show’s venue, injuring a number of fans.

This year’s concert in Washington, D.C., the third annual edition of the event, was halted about four hours after it started when the heavy rain that had been falling on RFK Stadium gave way to lightning. The bolt came during a performance by Herbie Hancock and Gang Starr’s Guru, and left a handful of fans injured.

“As far as we know there’s one person who’s in stable condition, and the other people are alright,” Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, one of the event’s organizers, told MTV News. “Three people got struck by lightning, or one person was struck and the other two were nearby or affected, maybe touching a pole, and when they came to treat the people, one person got up and walked away and the other two were taken to the hospital.”

After the lightning strike, show
organizers halted the show, and requested that the 60,000 ticketholders on hand evacuate the venue. At the time of the incident, fans had already seen sets from Money Mark, the Dave Matthews Band, KRS-One, and Live. Show organizers said that they hoped to reschedule the performers who were slated for Saturday but who were preempted by the lightning, including Sonic Youth, Tracy Chapman, R.E.M., Beck, and Radiohead. Organizers hoped to bring those acts to the stage during Sunday’s portion of the two-day concert, but noted that some of the groups have scheduling conflicts that make such a move unlikely for them.

Yauch seemed optimistic that, weather permitting, the second day of the concert would go on as planned. “As far as we know, as long as the weather is fine, I guess we are going to go on with the show tomorrow,” Yauch told MTV News.