A massive fire erupted during the Fresh Island Festival on Croatia’s Zrće beach, causing organizers to evacuate thousands of concertgoers and cancel some scheduled performances.
The fire reportedly broke out near the hip-hop festival. Videos from attendees show that smoke and flames were rising from nearby trees and people began to run from the beach.
The wildfire at Fresh Island Festival right now is mad. Whole thing been locked off pic.twitter.com/qUCu2QPodw
— Chloe Foskett (@ChloeeeeF) July 16, 2019
— seb (@shh360) July 16, 2019
One attendee, Jess Storey, told Mirror Online that the flames were “at times double the height of the trees and the smoke cloud grew very quickly also.”
“We spotted it as we filmed videos from the raised VIP section of the club and noticed that it was spreading rapidly across the forest over the bay due to the high winds,” she said. “We made the decision to leave immediately – many people had noticed the fire but were filming it and not taking action so we decided to get out before there was a mass stampede.
“The people on the lower level did not seem to have noticed the flames.”
At this time, no cause of the fire has been revealed. Festival organizers shared a statement on Facebook last night during the chaos, explaining that performances had been paused “under instruction from the police and fire service as a safety precaution.” Fans were escorted to the beach and parking to shuttle buses which would take festivalgoers back to the town Novalja.
Organizers noted in a follow-up tweet that attendees should not attempt to make their way back to town by themselves and should wait for until emergency services to provide more information. Nearing midnight, organizers followed-up, writing that the main road was closed, and later in the night, they stated that buses were allowed onto the grounds to pick-up people and bring them back to town.
Tyga was slated to headline the show at Papaya Nightclub along with UK rapper NOT3S. The latter took to Twitter to let fans know that he would no longer be performing due to the fire.
They are saying I can’t perform ??♂️ I’m backstage been here since 12:30am…….. https://t.co/LKZs96wbvk
— Not3s (@Not3sofficial) July 16, 2019
As of this morning, emergency services have cleared the fire and reopened the road, deeming the route to the beach as safe, organizers said on Twitter. The festival is set to resume again today, featuring a headlining set from Stefflon Don, and will run through Friday.
“There was a forest fire near to Zrce Beach last night” organizers said in a statement. “After being advised by the police and emergency services to evacuate due to heavy winds, we guided festival goers to the parking area near Noa Club which was a safe distance from the fire. The safety of fans is incredibly important to us and we worked with the emergency services to contain the fire over the following hours, transporting festival goers off site when possible and safe.”