Lightning and thunderstorms on Saturday night forced Country Stampede to cancel a performance by headliner Jason Aldean, capping a muddy first year in Topeka for the event.
Wind and rain peaked through the evening Saturday. That and lightning forced officials at Country Stampede, which is in its first year at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka after 23 years in Manhattan, to delay and ultimately cancel its final act of the weekend.
Crew members took Aldean’s stage backdrop down as a preventative measure, and lightning struck behind the stage not long after officials asked fans to leave the venue and take shelter. Aldean’s performance was delayed for several hours before organizers ultimately canceled the show because of the storm.
Aldean posted a video apologizing to fans for the cancellation.
“The safety of my fans and the safety of my band and crew is something we put first,” he said. “We were here ready to party with you guys and have fun. I hated that it went down like that.”
Stampede President Wayne Rouse said it was only the second time they’d had to cancel a performance (the other time was Charlie Daniels Band).
Fans said the heavy rain meant lots of mud at the festival, which meant many vehicles got stuck.
But Rouse said the event was a success. He didn’t yet have attendance numbers.
“Overall, it went really, really well, considering we did it in less than 18 days from start of the planning to, you know, laying it out on paper and then implementing the plan. The downside would be all the water.”
He said Topeka saw as much as 8 inches between Wednesday and Sunday night.
“So, it was muddy,” he said.