CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (April 6, 2016) – Tom Tom Founders Festival announced today that it has removed the White Flags installation from the Downtown Mall and will be moving it to another location. One of the hanging clips experienced a critical failure in the heavy winds, and a flag fell to the ground, raising questions about the stability of the remaining 192 flags. No one was injured.
The flags, which have been displayed around the world, were hung on a wire system hung between the trees at a height of 16’. For this installation, the hanging mechanism was upgraded to aluminum rods, steel cables, and steel swivel hooks to withstand high winds and especially the wind-tunnel effect on the Downtown Mall. In this case, whether due to the exceptional wind gusts, or to an anomaly in the equipment, one of the flags fell and with the possibility of someone being injured, event organizers removed the installation.
“The strong likelihood is that one clip and one clip only had a critical failure, but with the public nature of the exhibit, and the fact that so many pedestrians would be passing under the flags, it was in the interest of public safety to simply remove the installation,” commented Festival Director Paul Beyer. “Obviously this was very distressing to all the Festival staff, and to the Artist, because this installation took months of preparation.”
Upon removal, all 192 flags were examined and not a single additional hanging clip showed signs of damage or fraying. However, without a complete understanding of what caused the failure or whether another failure was likely, event organizers removed the flags that evening.
The Festival is working to install the flags elsewhere in Charlottesville at a lower altitude.