Don’t forget this image, people:
Don’t forget this one, either:
I’m overwhelmed with the awesome response that was given to the article from yesterday about the disaster at the Indiana State Fair at the Sugarland show. I’ve got my hands in as many places as I can right now to keep on top of this situation, but there are some large mysteries surrounding this misery. It’s bullshit to place blame on Mid America; it’s a cop-out. It’s their gear, end of story — others were managing the site.
However, have you read the news in the AP wire (thanks Fox) about how now they’re looking at the collapse? This has become a media salvage operation for Governor Daniels and his crew. Sorry folks, this really upsets me, especially the language in his statement about the collapse. From the report at the AP wire:
“Our first job is to get back in the business of living, get back in the business of the state fair and back in the business of caring for each other,” he said.
Since we’ve already arrived at the blame game part of the disaster with the Governor and the State Fair promoter people, I think we have two fingers that can be pointed. Sorry, Governor Daniels, you get finger #1.
You know what, I understand that you’re just trying to salvage face at this point. What you need to understand, sir, is that our industry, the Entertainment Industries as a whole, doesn’t do too well when these kinds of events happen, especially when they could have been avoided. Nate Byrd’s donation of his life for the sake of a State Fair show is a donation that you should be clamoring to give back with every second of future shows you ever have a hand in producing. I want you to know that, everyone in the industry wants you to know that, and I hope that you never forget that a show is LESS important than what you observed on Saturday.
Let’s take a look at some chain of command stuff here before we start blaming stagehands and riggers. I think that is very, very important. So, the chain of command broke down WAY before the time to blame riggers and stagehands. Now is there stuff we don’t know? Sure. Everything is speculation at this point. But five people are dead. It’s time to get some answers now.
- Promoters. It’s your fault for this happening. Since you didn’t call this show at least on hold when that weather is visible, the blood is on your hands. What you’re going to find is that there are many people under you who were probably suggesting that the show be held, at least until the weather passed. Another show was cancelled just a bit away from your site, and those promoters gave their audience at least 30 minutes to get there before any weather reached the site. Did that not surprise you?
- State Safety Officer. What was it that you were doing that was more important that this? You can get weather reports and warnings for free via text message if you happen to have an old phone.
- Public Safety Officer. What were you doing when the weather was an hour away? Your responsibility was public safety. Five are dead. I’d say you failed.
- Venue Manager. You should have had your weather reports right up in your face, ready to tell the promoters that you were going to stop the show, and that was that. Getting the PA down, getting the roof down, and getting the hands off of the deck are all things you should have been reporting to both the promoter(s) and the crew chief to execute.
- IATSE Steward onsite. This one hurts me, but it’s true – what the IA stewards say onsite goes for all IA hands. People should have been out of that rig when that weather was coming.
For the record, the Entertainment Industries are all about protecting our fans from the art they desire while we execute it like only we know how. But we’re professionals about it, and we know when you need to pull the PA down, drop the roof and lighting, and just deal with angry fans for the sake of the fans until the storm passes. Sugarland still would have rocked the heck out of it.
Sorry folks, but there are some issues with this AP article that have to be addressed. I’m gonna go through these really quickly here, but the world needs to know how pissed our industry is with this mess.
From the AP article:
As the fair reopened Monday, investigators and the families of the dead and injured were still seeking answers to hard questions: Was the structure safe? Why were the thousands of fans not evacuated? Could anything have been done to prevent the tragedy?
State fair officials have not said whether the stage and rigging were inspected prior to Saturday’s show. Fair spokesman Andy Klotz said initially that the state fire marshal’s office was responsible for inspections, but he backtracked Monday, saying he wasn’t sure whose job it is.
A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said neither the fire marshal nor Homeland Security officials conduct inspections. And the city does not have the authority to inspect items on state property.
“We do have our own requirements within the city for temporary structures, and we do have our own permitting requirements,” said Kate Johnson, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement. “But in this situation, we don’t have that authority because it’s state-owned property.”
As they investigate, inspectors for the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be looking at the weather and any potential structural or design flaws in the stage, among other things, experts said.
Another emerging issue is whether fair organizers responded quickly enough to forecasts of an approaching storm, especially since a different concert nearby was canceled because of the weather.
People, Mother Nature is gonna trash anything when hurricane strength winds blow through somewhere, but what the media needs to understand is that the reason this happened is a combination of things that we will probably soon discover in the follow-up. Biggest issue right now? WHY WAS THE RIG STILL IN THE AIR WHEN THAT STORM WAS COMING?! Did you see that big blue tarp in the video flap around in the wind like a sail? My professional guess would be that it was among the reasons for the sideways fall of that structure, the sail catching wind and pulling the rig out of balance. But let me just say this out loud again so that all government agencies and OSHA and all of the people who will still be blaming our industry for this mess for a long time coming: WHY WAS THE RIG STILL IN THE AIR WHEN THAT STORM WAS COMING?!
Here’s finger #2 – at the promoters for this event.
I am making a public call to the media and to the world – WHY DO WE NOT HAVE AN ANSWER FROM A PROMOTER ABOUT THESE THREE QUESTIONS?
WHY was the RIG STILL IN THE AIR when the storm was coming?
WHERE were the safety organizations’ representatives when this weather was coming through?
WHY was the RIG STILL IN THE AIR when the storm was coming?
Was it worth the deaths? Was it worth the mess? Here’s the REAL kicker for your sleepy time – you DO REALIZE that Sugarland would have still played a great show if you would have taken the time to lower the PA, drop the roof, just for the time the storm was coming, and then rocked the crap out of your fairgoers’ faces. Nate Byrd would also be running spots still, too.
We need to be concerned about a few things here:
- Does it concern anyone else that the very same people who keep saying “oh hey, I don’t know WHO’S job roof safety is” are the very same people who are going to be investigating the disaster? What I’m gonna be looking for is for OSHA and the Indiana people involved with this to be reaching out to parties in the Entertainment Industry to help them with the engineering and consulting.
- We need to be concerned that there is already backtracking in public statements. This is going to get worse. Governor Daniels’ constant “let’s be moving on and healing from this tragedy” makes me even more suspect. Sorry Gov’nah, this is more than just votes and political popularity. Our industry is on the carpet for the lack of due diligence that the fair promoters exhibited in NOT GETTING THAT ROOF IN when the storm was coming. We will NOT let you hang us out to dry on this one, especially when you chose to exhibit such negligence in this situation.
- Kate Johnson’s statement:
“We do have our own requirements within the city for temporary structures, and we do have our own permitting requirements,” said Kate Johnson, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement. “But in this situation, we don’t have that authority because it’s state-owned property.” Um, no. More pass-off. We can expect a lot more of this kind of garbage, I’m afraid.
- Was the structure safe? We’ll find out the answer to that soon, to be sure. What is obviously a big issue is WHY THE RIG WAS A FULL HEIGHT IN THE ONCOMING STORM. It’s Indiana, people, not Denver, where the mountains can hide rain.
I’m so disgusted with the just monster fountain of crap that’s engrossing this horrific incident. It’s up to US to make sure we can filter the BS. Anything and everything we can do is what is prescribed now. If we leave this in the hands of the people who are obviously doing such a great job of managing the fair now, I fear it’s only going to be a matter of time before I’m writing about the next bunch of music lovers who were killed in a roof collapse.
Governor Daniels, this was not a freak accident. This was negligence. Promoters, I’m gonna be waiting for your answer. We all are.