Due to severe storms and tornadic weather activity on Saturday night, (Aug. 1st, 2009) the stage at the Big Valley Jamboree music festival in Camrose, Alberta, Canada’s largest country music festival, collapsed where singer Billy Currington was performing. Currington was on the last song of his set when the wind blew the staging down on top of he and his band. Currington was taken to the hospital and suffered a minor concussion but is expected to make a full recovery. He has been released from the hospital and has returned to his home in Nashville. Currington’s bass player Alex Stevens was pinned under the wreckage of the stage for half an hour while rescue personnel removed debris to free him. Stevens underwent immediate surgery to repair a severed artery and nerves in his left arm and is currently receiving treatment in Nashville. Currington sent a message to his fans today via Twitter, “The boys and I are very grateful to be home and for life itself. We thank you for your prayers and concern and will see you on the road again soon.” Currington also comments from his home in Nashville, “my heart goes out to the family of Donna Moore who was killed and all of the other fans who were hurt on Saturday.”
EDMONTON — Alex Stevens says he believes his bass guitar saved his life — or, at least, his spine and pelvis.
When the musician saw storm clouds approaching the Big Valley Jamboree stage in Camrose, Alta., on Saturday, he said his first thought was that it was going to rain and he was still plugged in. He didn't suspect the wind was far more dangerous.
Stevens, along with the rest of country star Billy Currington's band, unplugged and hurried off the stage.
Stevens, bass still over his shoulder, never made it.
"For me, it was like being blindsided by a bus," he said from his home in Nashville.
"I was halfway down the stairs off the back of the stage, when a whole section of seating and scaffolding slammed into me from my right side. I was pinned underneath it and unable to move."
Under the debris, Stevens' instrument was mashed against him, but didn't break.
"I'm convinced that, if I hadn't been wearing my bass, my pelvis or back would've been crushed or broken," Stevens said in an e-mail interview.
He wasn't freed until half an hour later, by a forklift.
Stevens was taken to hospital for surgery. He suffered several deep lacerations, including a 12-centimetre gash that severed an artery and damaged two nerves in his left bicep. The nerve damage left two fingers and the thumb of his left hand numb. His entire body is sore from being pinned in an awkward, kneeling position.
"He's in a lot of pain," said his wife, Lauren Stevens. "He's beat up, but the prognosis is good for the feeling to come back. He will be able to play again, its what he loves, its his life."
The solid, one-piece wood guitar is nicked and scratched, but still intact, said Lauren Stevens. "I don't know if he'll play that one again; maybe he'll just hang it up as his lucky bass."
Stevens returned to Nashville on Monday, where he will now recuperate. The band has already cancelled performances for this weekend.
Currington suffered a minor concussion during the stage collapse. He has already released a statement on behalf of the band that offers condolences to the dozens of injured and the one fatal victim, Donna Moore of Lloydminster, Alta.