Officials with the Edmonton Folk Music Festival evacuated Gallagher Park Thursday night, after a storm packing high winds hit the popular festival.

After just two performers had taken the stage on the hill, thousands of fans were told to evacuate at about 8:30 p.m.

The high winds picked up quickly, blowing tents, tarps and damaging a video screen – organizers said they chose to evacuate the hill in the interests of safety.

In a Facebook post, organizers explained their on-site meteorologist had advised that after the first case of high winds, there could be another more intense storm that could have made conditions on the hill unsafe.

As a result of the evacuation, performances by The Decemberists and Shakey Graves were cancelled. The festival said the two acts have been invited back to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2018.

“We’re trying to predict the future here, so if your weather guys are coming to you saying it’s unsafe you know we’ve had situations in North America and here fairly locally that show the winds here can be strong and dangerous,” festival producer Terry Wickham said.

Later Friday, officials released details on how evacuated fans could obtain refunds.

Officials said single-day ticket holders for Thursday could attend Friday night’s show – that exchange can be made at the Bennet Centre (9703 94 Street) between 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, a wristband or receipt for the Thursday ticket may be used to make the exchange.

For those unable to attend the show Friday, refunds can be done through Ticketmaster (if the tickets were purchased there) or the Festival Box Office.

Ticket holders who bought their ticket through Ticketmaster can email or call customer service at 1-855-985-HELP (4357).

As for customers who bought tickets through the box office, an email containing the purchaser’s name, daytime phone number and purchase location to

Those who bought four pack transferable ticket can also get a ticket for Friday’s show at the Bennett Centre.