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It was looking good for the Rosslyn Jazz Festival. It was working with perhaps its best lineup ever, and was getting good notices for it. But it ended prematurely, and badly. Several outlets, including JazzTimes and WUSA, report that Saturday afternoon’s thunderstorm caused first the cancellation of the festival-in-progress, then the collapse of the stage in Gateway Park. One person was injured.
According to attendees, clarinetist Don Byron (the afternoon’s third performer, after vocal acts Afro-Blue and Rene Marie) had played two songs before an event organizer took to the stage to say that the performances would not continue due to forecasts of 50 MPH winds and a strong thunderstorm. He advised that everyone in attendance—-more than 1,000—-seek shelter immediately.
The storm arrived not long after, and power flickered in and out as both attendees and vendors began clearing out of the park. Before most people could leave, however, the left side of the large stage collapsed, knocking over speakers and injuring one of the engineers who was attempting to disassemble the equipment. He was taken to the hospital.
It was an unfortunate incident for a festival whose profile and quality were both improving substantially over the past few years. Hopefully their misfortune won’t be a permanent mark on that reputation.