Thousands evacuated as forest fire bears down on Croatia music festival

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 13:17:29-04

Thousands of people had to be evacuated from a music festival in Croatia after a forest fire erupted near the venue Monday night, forcing the cancellation of acts including the US rapper Tyga.

Performances will continue as scheduled Tuesday afternoon, according to Fresh Island Festival’s Facebook page.

Attendees have been warned to stay on the roads while traveling to the festival and to not venture into the wooded areas.

Footage posted by attendees on social media showed a massive blaze near Zrce beach on the Island of Pag, where the Fresh Island hip-hop festival was ongoing.

The festival’s Facebook page put out a statement in the early hours of Tuesday to say the night’s performances had been paused “under instruction from the police and fire services as a safety precaution.”

Fans were escorted to a nearby parking area to wait for shuttle buses to transport them to the town of Novalja.

“They are saying I can’t perform,” tweeted the British rapper Not3s, who, along with Tyga, was due to take to the Papaya Club stage on Monday night. “I’m backstage been here since 12:30am……..”

There was a long wait for the evacuees as the festival announced that the main road to Novalja was closed due to the fire. Some buses were later escorted through by police, with Fresh Island tweeting late Tuesday morning that “it is not safe to walk back to the town as the fire is still not contained.”

But Tuesday afternoon, the festival said that emergency services had reopened the road and deemed the beach to be safe.

The three-day event was due to end on Wednesday.