Popular mainstream and Christian rock band Relient K hit a major set back Thursday when their tour bus when up in flames.
Just finishing up an opening night performance at this year's Creation Northeast Festival in Pennsylvania in front of about 75,000 fans, the band was heading to their next stop in Bushnell, Ill., when the bus went into flames around 3:20 a.m. on Thursday morning due to an engine eruption under the back lounge of the tour bus. The group was expected to headline the concerts at the Cornerstone Festival Thursday night in front of another 20,000 fans.
"It was pandemonium," explained Matt Thiessen, lead vocals, to the Times-Reporter. "Everyone was screaming. We thought the bus might blow up."
The problem was spotted from the back of the vehicle by Thiessen and one of his friends, who then alerted the bus driver. The rest of the band was awakened by the alarmed driver who made everyone evacuate.
Fortunately, no band member was hurt in the accident, but the blaze will ring up a hefty damage bill.
Although total costs of damage for the vehicles are unknown, Thiessen has reported that his items were valued up to at least $7,000, which included his laptop computer containing 100 unfinished songs.
Because of the disaster, the band had to cancel its Cornerstone appearance, but still plans on making a Saturday night performance planned for Greeley, Colo.
Despite all the problems, the band has handled the chaos fairly well.
"We were just gawking and kind of laughing [outside the bus]. It was all so cinematic," said Thiessen in the Times-Reporter. "There was the night sky with all this light and this fireman kneeling and hacking at the top of the bus with an ax."
"It's funny to be onstage playing for 75,000 people having a great time, at the height of your element," he added. "Then hours later standing outside by a burning bus with no shoes on, feeling basically like a refugee."
Relient K is a Grammy-nominated, Dove Award-winning band that hails from Ohio. The five-member squad, although Christian, erupted into the mainstream music scene in 2004 over their fourth album, Mmhmm, which had three top-five songs on the Christian airwaves and two top-twenty mainstream songs.
They have had success with their newest album, Five Score and Seven Years Ago, which was released on Mar. 6. The record debuted at No. 6 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 chart and at No. 2 on the iTunes best-selling albums chart.
They currently have three gold-certified records.