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Storms cause chaos at US festival

14 August 2012 11:07

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were among those playing at the festival

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were among those playing at the festival

Dangerous storms and high winds forced the temporary suspension of the Lollapalooza music festival, as tens of thousands of fans were evacuated to emergency shelters in Chicago.

The three-day rock festival at the Windy City's Grant Park was temporarily suspended on Saturday after gusts of up to 70mph were reported to be sweeping through the Illinois region.

Meteorologist Ben Deubelbeiss said winds of up to 55mph were recorded at the National Weather Service at its Illinois base in Romeoville before powering through Chicago, with estimated speeds reaching as high as 70mph.

Shelby Meade, who promoted the rock music extravaganza, said: "Our first priority is always the safety of our fans, staff and artists. We regret having to suspend any show but safety always comes first."

The festival was held up for more than three hours before the worst of the weather had passed through Chicago before heading over Lake Michigan and northern Indiana.

Police directed an estimated 200,000 festival-goers away from Grant Park towards three shelter sites in underground garages along Michigan Avenue while the storm passed.

Tourists will have been keeping their travel insurance documents close to their chest as the storm passed through before play could resume later on Saturday evening.

Copyright Press Association 2012