Thousands evacuated as forest fire bears down on Croatia music festival

Footage posted by attendees on social media showed a massive blaze near Zrce beach on the Island of Pag, where the Fresh Island hip-hop festival was ongoing.

The festival’s Facebook page put out a statement in the early hours of Tuesday to say the night’s performances had been paused “under instruction from the police and fire services as a safety precaution.”

Fans were escorted to a nearby parking area to wait for shuttle buses to transport them to the town of Novalja.

“They are saying I can’t perform,” tweeted the British rapper Not3s, who, along with Tyga, was due to take to the Papaya Club stage on Monday night. “I’m backstage been here since 12:30am……..”

There was a long wait for the evacuees as the festival announced that the main road to Novalja was closed due to the fire. Some buses were later escorted through by police, Fresh Island tweeting that “it is not safe to walk back to the town as the fire is still not contained.”

In a later update, the festival said that emergency services were still working to contain the remaining fire, and that they were unable to say how later performances would be affected.

“The safety of fans is incredibly important to us and we worked with the emergency services to contain the fire over the following hours, transporting festival-goers off site when possible and safe,” it said. “Rest assured we’re doing everything we can to go ahead as planned to continue the parties.”

The three-day event was due to end on Wednesday.