Milwaukee, WI Show Tent Collapses, July 1968


Milwaukee, Wis. (AP) -- A giant show tent filled to capacity for a festival music program collapsed in a wind storm Sunday night, scattering a crowd of 2,500 persons.
Officials said about 40 persons were treatred at hospitals for injuries, none serious.
Most of the victims were teen-agers struck by falling tent poles.
An estimated 20 other persons were treated at a first aid station.
Police, spectators and show officials said there generally was little sign of panic as support poles toppled into the tightly packed crowd, and sparks showered from overhead electric equipment.
One woman said the audience was watching a band about to start the program when "all of a sudden, the wind came underneath the tent and it started flying up" releasing the poles.
One of the injured, MISS MARY POINTEK, 15, said she heard "a howling noise and a big ripping above me. The poles started swaying back and forth. I thought it was all part of the show at first. All of a sudden, everything collapsed around me."
Witnesses said the winds, accompanying a line of thunderstorms, lifted the canvas twice before it collapsed and cloaked about half the seating area.
Police said most of the audience got clear of the wreckage within 15 minutes, but that many people were still entangled in rope and canvas 45 minutes later.
The tent, covering an area larger than a football field, had been erected at a Lake Michigan shorefront park for a series of programs during the city's Summerfest '68, keyed to youth activities.
STEVEN THORPE of Chicago, a trumpet player with the New Colony Six, which was beginning its performance, said a pole "hit me in the side of the head and knocked me off the stage."

Ironwood Daily Glode Michigan 1968-07-22