Questions are again being raised about the safety of high-tech stage setups after another collapsed over the weekend leaving at least one person dead, and three others injured.
According to News Limited the collapse occurred during the setup of the stage for popular British rock band Radiohead in Toronto, Canada, just hours before thousands of ticket holders were due to descend onto the site.
A spokesperson for the Toronto Emergency Medical Services said a man had died after becoming trapped in the rubble and was pronounced dead at the scene. According to officials the man was in his mid-30s.
“It was a crushing injury that killed the man,” said Fire Services Platoon Chief Tony Bellavance after emergency crews were called to the scene by officials to assist in extracting the victim.
A 45-year-old man was also taken to hospital with a head injury, while two others workers injured in the accident were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
The man killed has since been identified as Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson. The band have issued a statement saying, “we have all been shattered by the loss of Scott Johnson, our friend and colleague.”
“He was a lovely man, always positive, supportive and funny; a highly skilled and valued member of our great road crew. We will miss him very much. Our thoughts and love are with Scott’s family and all those close to him.”
The concert was cancelled immediately following the incident, with Radiohead jumping on Twitter to tell fans not to turn up at the venue.
Radiohead’s website had listed the concert as being sold out, with 40,000 tickets sold.
The incident echoed another infamous stage collapse last year during Sugarland’s concert at the Indiana State Fair, where weather brought the stage crashing down onto unsuspecting fans, killing five and injuring scores of other ticket holders who were unable to escape the avalanche of metal and glass.
Luckily this time ticket holders had not been given access to the site, and according to a spokesperson for the police, Tony Vella, the crew were still in the process of rigging up the stage when it collapsed.
“They were setting up when the top portion collapsed on top of them,” he said. “Unfortunately, four people were hurt. The remainder of the people, when they heard the stage coming down, ran from the area.”
“There was a loud crash and it sounded like sheet metal and lightning and we just saw the stage collapse,” added an employee with a local radio station.
“It was like a tornado hit the stage and in just moments the stage came down with metal everywhere,” added another witness.
According to the witness security officials rushed to evacuate the area, with up to 1000 people already lining up at the venue hours before Radiohead were due on stage.
The collapse occured at 4pm, just an hour before the doors were scheduled to open at 5pm so that the support acts could perform, narrowly averting what could have been one of the biggest disasters in music in recent years.
Canada’s Ministry of Labour has indicated it would investigate to determine the cause of the collapse.
There have been a number of other concert stage collapses in recent years, with the death tolls slowly rising amidst questions over the safety of large-scale stage rigs.
Last year in the Canada, one person died and several were injured when a stage at the Ottawa Bluesfest collapsed during Cheap Tricks set, with the band members all cheating death in an absolute miracle.
The Flaming Lips also saw part of their signature stage collapse during wild weather in Oklahoma, USA, just a few weeks later.
Five people also died at popular music festival Pukklepop in Belgium, after numerous stages collapsed and tents were ripped from their pegs during a freak storm that caused officials to abandon the festival altogether.Write a Letter to the Editor