WE Fest Organizers Ready If Severe Weather Threatens Again - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

WE Fest Organizers Ready If Severe Weather Threatens Again

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One of the largest country music festivals in the world, WE Fest, visits Soo Pass Ranch for its 31st annual year starting Tuesday. Tens of thousands of people will be heading in that direction to enjoy the festivities.

Some of you may remember a severe storm that rolled through last year, leaving some major damage. We looked into the action plan in case of severe weather this year.

Concert Organizer John Gourley says, "You know it had been a very long time since we'd had any kind of real serious inclement weather."

As setup continues at Soo Pass Ranch for another year of country's hottest stars taking the stage, Gourley is trying to move on from last year.

He says, "We had some signage, and just wasn't really significant at all. It blew through pretty quickly."

While the concert bowl did not take a huge hit and was evacuated before the storm, numerous large trees in the area were broken down and some tents and trailers had damage as well.

"We'd practiced it of course. We've got an elaborate plan, and it worked like a charm last year," says Gourley.

Not a lot of changes are being made to that plan due to the success. Gourley explains, "We've of course started to use social media dramatically in terms of when people arrive at WE Fest, so we can give them updates."

The Becker County Emergency Manager takes over if the weather takes a turn for the worst, handing out specific places where people can go in each situation.

The crews watch the radar constantly to get real time updates, but they also have another tool. "They have weather spotters in all directions at approximately 50 miles out, beginning at 50 miles in all directions," says Gourley.

Overall, with all the alert options available, he says people should feel very safe when they get out here.

There is also a text program available. You can text "WE Fest" to 90210 to get all the latest updates.

Once again, the campgrounds open Tuesday and concerts on the main stage begin Thursday.

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