Belgium's Federal Council of Ministers has decided, as proposed by Minister Turtelboom, to designate the severe storm on Thursday 18 August at Pukkelpop Festival as a natural disaster.
Pukkelpop 2011 was hit by the worst weather in the festivals history which led to extensive stage damage, killing five and leaving 140 people seriously injured. The organisers set up an emergency fund to support victims but refused refunds to festivalgoers as the festival was cancelled after just a couple of hours of music. They said in a statement today (Sept 30): “As an organisation, we are pleased that official recognition has now been granted that this storm was extremely exceptional.
As a result, everyone who suffered direct material damages may be eligible for compensation from the Disaster Fund. Festival tickets are not considered material damages. Physical injuries are also not covered by the Disaster Fund.”
The new recognition will also not help the festival recoup financial loses as it continues to claim against insurance, in the statement they said: “This designation also means that the Pukkelpop organisation itself cannot call on the Disaster Fund. Pukkelpop is awaiting the decision of the Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding criminal liability and the decision of the insurance company regarding civil liability. Although the organisation will not receive any compensation from the Disaster Fund, it is pleased to know that a number of suppliers can expect some compensation for the damages they suffered.
The Pukkelpop organisation is still waiting for the decisions of the insurance company and the Public Prosecutor’s Office before providing clarity as to a possible Pukkelpop 2012 edition and any potential compensation for the people who came to Pukkelpop.
The organisation will do its best to make a decision / provide final clarity as soon as possible, and in any case no later than 15 November.”