“Cruel World” became all too apt a title for the outdoor music festival in Brookside Park at the Rose Bowl Saturday night, as a fast-moving thunderstorm with lightning began approaching from Mount Wilson on a direct course toward the stadium and forced organizers to cut the festival short.
The festival, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., was shut down shortly before 10 p.m. after the National Weather Service issued a severe weather alert as the storm moved in.
Rock icon Iggy Pop was in the middle of his set and Human League had just begun theirs on a stage across the golf course when Pop’s microphone was cut off and a PA announcement directed fans to leave the area.
Concert promoters Goldenvoice also posted tweets to festival goers, directing them to evacuate the area immediately.
“Due to severe weather, please exit the event site and move to your vehicles or protected areas outside of the event site for safety. Stay tuned for updates,” organizers tweeted at 9:47 p.m.
Iggy Pop reportedly tried to continue his set when a production staffer warned him of lightning and he left the stage.
The storm disappointed thousands of fans eagerly awaiting a set from the legendary 80s UK star Siouxsie, of Siouxsie and the Banshees, in her first US appearance in 15 years.
Flashes of lighting could be seen in the skies just east of Pasadena just after 9 p.m. Most of the fans who had arrived during the warm, sunny afternoon were ill-prepared for rain let alone a thunderstorm, as countless fans were dressed in t-shirts and shorts — some in less than that.
According to some reports, many fans still refused to leave the field nearly 30 minutes after the announcement.
But the show was over.
Fans took to social media late Saturday with some expressing disappointment at the early ending but also sharing how much fun they had before the crowd was evacuated.
“I had a fun time at Cruel World even if it ended early!!!,” a fan tweeted under the username @lighthouse_cell.
Hours later, Goldenvoice announced Siouxsie and Iggy Pop will be back at Brookside at the Rose Bowl Sunday, May 21 with Siouxsie performing an extended set.
All Saturday pass types will be allowed access to the venue, Goldenvoice said. Doors were scheduled to open at 5 p.m.
Before the sudden storm, those same fans had enjoyed a host of now gray-haired former punk and new wave bands across several stages, most of whom had enjoyed much of their fame when most of the fans were toddlers if that.
Basic one-hit wonders Animotion performed more than one song, including their 1983 hit “Obsession.”
The Vapors, with two original members, delighted the main stage crowd with a vibrant, melodic set that closed with their international hit, “Turning Japanese,” released in 1980.
Gang of Four were equally entertaining with a fun set that included “Man in a Uniform,” and “Love Like Anthrax.” This year’s lineup included Andy Gill on guitar, John Sterry on vocals, Thomas McNiece on bass, Jonny Finnegan on drums, and a set of backup singers.
Billy Idol, who remains a parody of a punk rock singer, albeit a very successful one, also brought his sneer and a fistful of hits to a delighted audience, along with the aforementioned Human League, who have retained three original members—Phillip Oakey, Susan Ann Sulley, and Joanne Catherall.
FKOA/Goldenvoice founded the Cruel World Festival in 2020 as an annual music event at Brookside at the Rose Bowl featuring top new wave, post- punk, gothic rock and alternative rock performers.
Some attendees said the evacuation process was chaotic, but most were glad at least some of the performances have been rescheduled for Sunday.
For more details about Sunday’s event, click here.