According to Country Thunder’s Twitter account, a severe thunderstorm rolled through Craven, damaging McGraw’s equipment making him ultimately unable to perform.
Another performer, Travis Tritt, was also shut down early due to the weather. His set began at 8:30 p.m., but as the weather came in, Tritt let his fans know the four songs he was able to perform would be the only ones in a comment on twitter.
“Although later than planned, we thought the system was going to pass and allow us to get on with the show,” said Kim Blevins, Country Thunder Music Festivals General Manager. “But persistent lightning strikes, rain, and high winds in a slow-moving cell created an unsafe environment for our fans and artists.
“It’s disappointing, but in the end, it was the only decision that we could make.”
According to Blevins, Tim McGraw and his band were standing by “in hopes of resuming the show even after the cell had passed by 11:15 p.m.”
“Unfortunately, much of the group’s gear and some instruments sustained heavy damage during the downpour,” Blevins said. “It was the final straw in this decision.”
To stay safe from the winds and pummeling rain, attendees were told to head back to their campsites. Those with day passes were told to take shelter at nearby baseball diamonds and structures on Main Street.
Organizers also advised any stragglers who hadn’t taken shelter to “buddy up” with “new friends” and seek shelter in vehicles or trailers. For those calling it quits and leaving the festival, organizers advised they drive slowly as they exited.
For fans who had bought day passes for Saturday, organizers of the festival let them know their passes would be honoured for Sunday.
But despite fans being able to trek back to the grounds for free Sunday, some were disappointed they couldn’t experience the artist they intended to see.
Later Saturday night, though, beer gardens re-opened and Wonderland took the stage in that area around midnight.
Sunday’s headlining act is Chris Stapleton.