Festival organizers take severe weather into consideration

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Blues fest is underway in downtown Kalamazoo, filling the air with guitar riffs and soulful singing.

But Saturday, the sounds of thunder are threatening to move in.

Newschannel 3 talked with organizers and emergency managers to find out what plans are in place to make sure you and your family are safe this festival season.

The weather in West Michigan can change quickly during the summer months, and whether you are a spectator or a coordinator, having a severe weather plan is a must.

From the Tulip Festival in Holland, to the Field of Flight in Battle Creek, to the Blues Festival in Kalaamzoo, outdoor festivals happen almost every weekend during the summer months.

But so does severe weather.

The Blues Festival is underway this weekend in Kalamazoo. With an estimated 3,500 people in attendance on Saturday, and a severe weather risk in the forecast, those running the festival say they're ready if it hits.

"Like all festivals, you're expected to have a severe weather plan and so do we," said Event Coordinator Dennis Massingill. "All of our people that work the festival are directed in how to escort people, point them in the right direction to exit the site, we would have people find cover."

Police and firefighters are also at the ready, able to move at a moment's notice if needed.

Severe weather crashed the Taste of Kalamazoo four years ago, sending vendors and festival-goers running for cover, and putting that festival's safety plan into action.

But the National Weather Service says some of the responsibility lies with you as well.

Make a plan before you go, and don't wait for weather to strike.

"Everyone can make sure they take the time to pay attention to the local media, or the applications on their device, make sure you know what the forecast is before they go not only to festivals but any recreational beach and so forth," said Jim Maczko with the National Weather Service. "Then keep an eye on the sky, or if you have a radar application to know when the weather is approaching so you can make the right decision for you and your family to get to safety before that weather arrives."

You will need to keep an eye on the skies Saturday if you have any outdoor plans.

You can be prepared by checking out the forecast right on

You can also check out apps, like the Red Cross Tornado App which can be found here.