Categories: Crowd Safety

Responding to a weather cancelled event

Country music stars Jake Owen and Eric Church

Last week a rare "derecho" storm swept over the east coast and caused thousands of event cancellations. We look at how one cancelled event, the fortuitously named "Second Chance Rocks", handled the challenge of rescheduling their cancelled event.

Why do we blog this? There are some circumstances that are in your control and there are some that are not - the weather is most definitely the latter. How you respond to a weather related event cancellation is a critical aspect of your event.


On June 29, 2012 a rare "derecho" storm swept across the Eastern Untied States causeing widespread damage. A derecho is defined as:

A derecho is a widespread and long-lived convection-induced straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms in the form of a squall line usually taking the form of a bow echo. A warm weather phenomenon, derechos occur mostly in summer, especially June and July in the Northern Hemisphere. The storm also caused thousands of scheduled events, both indoors and out, to be postponed or cancelled outright.

As a venue owner or event organizer, you may have already faced severe weather and know all too well how much of a challenge it can be. If you have never been in such a circumstance, it is a good idea to look to how others have successfully managed a cancellation or postponement due to weather.

"Nobody’s life is worth the price of a ticket."

A great example is the 'Second Chance Rocks The Two Virginias' country music concert in Bluefield, West Virginia. The event is a fundraiser for the Second Chance Learning Center, a non-profit organization providing scholarships to Southwest Virginia students who wish to continue their education in college or trade school. The center has a long and honorable history of helping both students and teachers through donations, grants and live events, like the Second Chance Rocks concert.

The concert was in full swing when the destructive derecho storm approached Mitchell Stadium, in Bluefield WV, but was cut short and evacuated as concern for public safety became paramount. The safe and orderly evacuation lead concertgoers safely home but left many questions on everyone's mind - Will we get a refund for our tickets? Will the show be rescheduled?

Sensitivity to the suffering of those affected by the storm comes first and foremost, of course, with the decision to refund or reschedule until the crisis was downgraded in severity.

Yesterday, the executive director of the Second Chance Learning Center, Erik Robinson, announced the concert would be rescheduled pending confirmation from headliners Jake Owen and Eric Church. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph quotes Mr. Robinson during the newsconference:

We’re working with them on a date, and as soon as I know the date, I will release it. It’s very important that people keep their tickets.

Robinson went on to say he will not resume sales for tickets to the additional shows, that were scheduled for the successive days and also cancelled, until he has finalized the dates for the performers to return.

Note the transparency and honesty in the Robinson statements. He is genuinely sensitive to tragedy of the circumstance and steadfast in his resolve to satisfy the concerns the ticket holders have. Exemplary actions by an event manager and something to follow as a guide should your event have the misfortune of being impacted by severe weather.

Robinson closed the press conference with what is the ultimate concern for anyone faced with the decision to cancel or postpone an event "Nobody’s life is worth the price of a ticket."

The same altruist concern is echoed on the Second Chance website as well, communicating clearly to ticketholders the need for safety first:

We are very disappointed about the cancellation of last night's show. Some things, such as weather, are simply out of our control. While the weather did clear, 80 mile per hour wind gusts caused structural damage to the stage.

In addition to apt public statements and the center's well designed website, 'Second Chance' made correct use of social media to convey information, as seen on their Facebook page.

You have the tools

We applaud the Second Chance Learning Center for their excellent handling of such a dubious circumstance and admire their "people first" approach.

Your ThunderTix account has the tools you need to respond to fast changing conditions, be it a last minute booking or, like so many in the storm's path, the need to reschedule a cancelled event. Should you need to cancel an event and refund the tickets, or react quickly to reschedule your event on a different date, our technology and the ThunderTix Team are here for you.

Do you have a story to tell about a weather related impact on your event? Please share in the comments below so that others may gain from your experience.


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