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Venice Whirlwind Injures 25, Blows Away Heineken Jammin’ Festival & Pearl Jam Concert

VENICE, ITALY (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A rare whirlwind hit Venice’s Heineken Jammin’ Festival, injuring twenty-five plus people and forcing the cancellation of the festival headlined by Pearl Jam.

The whirlwind struck late in the afternoon, bringing down sound towers and girders on the stage as well as trees in the surrounding San Giuliano park in Mestre, a mainland area of Venice where the music festival was being held; the historic heart of the city was not affected.

Several vehicles were literally overturned by the strong winds. According to the concert organizer's Web site and Italian news sources, after eight temporary towers containing lights and speakers collapsed in the wind, and part of the stage was damaged, organizer Roberto De Luca said he was forced to cancel the festival,.

More than 20,000 concert-goers were already at the site for the Heineken Jammin' Festival and were evacuated. Thousands more fans were diverted and concerts were cancelled throughout the weekend. It was to be the only Italian appearance of Pearl Jam, which is on a European tour this month.

Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari said 19 people were taken to hospitals but only one had suffered serious fractures, news agency ANSA reported.

Traffic on the bridge that connects the lagoon city to the mainland was temporarily disrupted by debris.