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German 'Rock am Ring' music festival rolls on after violent storm

Organizers have given the all-clear for the "Rock am Ring" music festival to continue after a lightning storm injured scores of visitors in western Germany. Meteorologists warn more bad weather could be on the way.

The annual rock festival got underway just after 9:30 p.m. local time (1930 UTC) on Saturday, more than seven hours later than scheduled.

The performances were put on hold earlier in the night after local authorities in the town of Mendig warned a powerful storm was approaching the area.

"We believe that a powerful storm could also pass over the festival grounds. Please protect yourselves and go to your vehicles or tents," the organizers said on their website.

A

severe storm on Friday night

injured "up to 82 people" according to Roger Lewentz, the interior minister of German Rhineland-Palatinate state.

"I don't expect Rock am Ring to take place on Sunday," he told the dpa news agency.

Earlier, police sources said that at least 15 people were in serious condition, and two of them had to be revived after lightning strikes and heavy rain destroyed a number of tents on the old Mendig airfield.

The "Rock am Ring" festival is among the most popular in Germany, drawing about 90,000 visitors this year. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Sabbath were set to perform at the event.

'Catastrophic' weather in Germany

Organizers were posting hourly weather updates on Saturday and urging the visitors to seek shelter.

"It's not about causing panic but giving people the feeling that someone is looking after them," said head organizer Marek Lieberberg.

Lieberberg dismissed reports that organizers were too slow to warn the music fans about the Friday storm, blaming the injuries on the "catastrophic weather situation in Germany" instead.

This is not the first time that extreme weather conditions caused trouble at the popular music event. A lightning bolt injured 33 people during last year's festival.

Over the last two weeks, severe rain and storms have killed at least 18 people across Europe.

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