Jason Shambach of Wilmore, Ky., directs Lindsey Daugherty, 14, of
Wilmore, Ky., who was wondering if she could get in the festival. The festival closed shortly after thunderstorms started. Copyrighted photo by Emily Spence | LexGo.
Nick Covert and Kevin Bonilla were working at the Guitar String Jewlery booth in the Ichthus Festival's large merchandise tent when the first of a wave of thunderstorms blew through Friday afternoon.
They didn't think much of it, except people were running in to take cover.
"The only warning was when the tent pole started wiggling," Covert said. A second later, the pole gave way, bringing the tent ceiling crashing down on vendor tables," sending a few crashing to the floor along with temporary lighting.
People who had initially sought refuge in the tent were now running out, seeking an alternative refuge from the rain and lightning.
Covert says he grabbed two valuable guitars that were part of the jewelry vendor display, wrapped them in a sweatshirt and sprinted to his tent, just outside Gate 1. He said that he went back to see if he could retrieve other items from his kiosk and was not allowed in. He and festival director Jeff James said a crew was working to restore the pole, but Covert said he was nervous about returning to work in the tent that had just collapsed in a storm Monday night.
"We're going to talk to the boss," he said, referring to the owner of the company, who is working at the company's booth at this weekend's Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. If they deem it not safe, or not worth it, they may leave. The festival is scheduled to continue through Saturday night.