Heavy thunderstorm rain interrupted last night’s (April 23rd) main performance at Australia’s Biggest Christian music festival, Easterfest, taking place in Toowoomba. Switchfoot continued playing as people were being evacuated from the Queen’s Park venue with a drenched lead singer, Jon Foreman climbing up the large screen support structure.
Water was up to the knees of many in the audience as security personnel progressively moved people out of one of the main marquee structures because the roof was sinking with the weight of the rain. The tent partially collapsed, but there were no injuries and everyone has been accounted for.
The Toowoomba Chronicle is reporting a woman as saying “People were panicking because they had seen the news reports from Toowoomba in January”. Children could be heard screaming as their parents grabbed them and moved to higher ground.
East Creek which was the scene of major flooding and 2 fatalities earlier in the year, runs alongside the main exit from the venue.
The camping area (which was completely booked out this year) was evacuated as a precautionary measure, with evacuation centres being arranged by Easterfest organisers at Toowoomba City Church in Neil Street, Assembly of God in Spring Street and Christ Life Presbyterian Church, cnr of South and Greenwattle Streets, Toowoomba.
Late last night Easterfest organisers announced that the Sunday program in Queen’s Park would be called off, but the performances and services arranged throughout Toowoomba would proceed.
Police reported localised flooding in some streets surrounding the CBD, with one man being rescued from a car at Scott and Mackenzie Streets about 2kms from Queen’s Park.
At the height of the storm, the Weather bureau reported rainfall rates of up to 50mm per hour in the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley regions, prompting a preliminary flood warning for Lockyer Creek. However the storm rain was of relatively short duration and the severe weather warning was cancelled at 9.55pm