Watching snow pour through the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome’s roof made us realize 2010 hasn’t been a great year for venues facing Mother Nature’s fury.
It’s been a few years since the Metrodome in Minneapolis hosted major concerts on a somewhat regular basis. Vans Warped Tour has been the venue’s best concert customer during the last 10 years, playing the domed stadium in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Something’s gotta give when a winter storm dumps 17 inches of snow on a city. In this case it was the Metrodome’s inflatable roof that couldn’t stand up to all that white stuff, eventually giving way and forcing the Minnesota Vikings to host the New York Jets in Detroit.
For the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings, Mont., it wasn’t snow that ripped the roof off the structure June 20, but a nasty tornado. Unlike the Metrodome, Rimrock had many concerts on the books, including Montana State Fair shows by Jason Aldean, Scorpions, Hinder and Finger Eleven, which were moved to the MetraPark grandstand.
The great outdoors wasn’t all that great for Finland’s Sonisphere Festival. On the afternoon of August 8 an intense storm blew across the festival grounds, bringing plenty of hail and rain.
Sonisphere’s second stage was the hardest hit, resulting in so much damage that it was declared unsafe. Motley Crue and Iggy & The Stooges were forced to cancel their planned appearances, although Iggy Pop did amble over to the main stage to perform an acoustic set.
The main stage also suffered some damage when the storm lifted the Sonisphere backdrop up into the air then sent it crashing down on Alice Cooper’s equipment truck. In addition to trashing Cooper’s equipment, the storm did a number on equipment belonging to Motley Crue, Iron Maiden and The Stooges.
But blizzards, tornadoes and summer storms weren’t the only malicious meteorological rascals threatening venues this year. In May, heavy rainstorms resulted in flash flooding that turned Nashville into a gigantic body of water only ducks could love.
It also shut down Nashville’s most famous music venue, the Grand Ole Opry, with photos showing water rising as high as the door knob on the stage door. The door was eventually repaired with the watermark left by the flood preserved for posterity.
The flooding resulted in the Opry shutting down for approximately six months while work crews repaired the damage. In addition to removing the Grand Ole Opry’s circle and stage, all carpets were taken out as well as drywall up to the level of the flooding, wood trim damaged by the water and electrical and technical fixtures.
If there was a silver lining in this year’s Nashville deluge it was seeing the city’s famed music community band together to raise money for flood relief. A concert / telethon held within two weeks of the flooding raised more than $1.5 million and a benefit led by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill brought in more than $2.2 million.
Not to be outdone, Garth Brooks originally scheduled one flood benefit at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. As it turned out, one show wasn’t enough and Brooks eventually scheduled nine relief shows at the venue, with the first one scheduled for Dec. 16.
Weather hasn’t been particularly kind to venues this year. Tornadoes, floods, thunder storms and blizzards have reminded us that no matter how big, tough or historic venues may be, they are no match when Mother Nature kicks up her heels. Kind of makes you wonder what the ol’ gal has in store for venues next year, doesn’t it?