Where Entertainment Production and Design People Meet!

Stage Collapses at Indiana State Fair

Over the weekend, the main stage at the Indiana State Fair Collapsed.  Here is more from

A strong, isolated blast of wind that came in advance of a line of thunderstorms knocked down the main stage at the Indiana State Fair at 8:49 pm Aug. 13. The collapse killed four people on site. A fifth victim, Nathan Byrd, 51, died Aug. 14. A spotlight operator who fell with the rigging, Byrd had been among the 45 people hospitalized, many with serious injuries. Although other crew members were seen falling with the rigging, no additional deaths were reported as of mid-day Aug. 14.

Mid-America Sound, which uses products manufactured by James Thomas Engineering, supplied the temporary stage and roof structure that fell. “This is a devastating tragedy and we want to express our sympathy to the families of those who were killed and injured last night at the State Fair,” Mid-America owner Kerry Darrenkamp said in a statement issued Aug. 14. “We have already started an independent internal investigation to understand, to the best of our ability, what happened.”

Read the entire story on

This has been a bad summer for stage collapses with the second in less then two months.  What do you guys think, do we need some new regulations? Rigging training is always a good idea, but do you feel that the ETCP certification is lacking in this area?

Views: 506


You need to be a member of ProLightingSpace to add comments!

Join ProLightingSpace

Comment by John Bauer on August 16, 2011 at 7:04pm

First off my heart goes out to all involved in this tragic incident. 

As some one who has built many Thomas roofs over the years I have a few observations. In looking at the film footage and the photos I have come across, It does look like there were many ties downs in place, as to whether or not the angles were correct, and how many were used, unless you are there on site you can not tell. Tie downs are extremely important in keeping an outdoor roof stable, we all know this and i am sure the company that put up that roof really knows this. The one thing that did jump out at me is the stage right canopy did not rip off as it should have. it looked like a big down draft prevented it from ripping off. That down draft is what brought the roof down from what i can tell.  If you noticed in the video, the stage left side ripped off seconds before the roof came down. I believe if the stage right canopy had been able to release it may, and i say may have stayed up.

Another thing i was looking at was how much the gear was moving prior to the collapse. That is always one of the things that scares me when i see 1500 pounds of PA swinging in the wings. This rig had a lot of gear catching the wind and i am sure it was starting to move around quite a bit. That movement can build up some serous osculations in the roof structure. The Tie Downs Help transfer that force to the ground but it can only take so much. 

In the end you can not predict what is going to happen to your roof when large winds come up.

I would be shocked if a rig this size was not well thought out in advance and rigged with in the parameters of the roof. When you work with roof's this size your A crew is on it. I do think that ETCP Should have better training specifically for outdoor roof rigging but only in general terms. The rigging math is the same from roof to roof  but the stress the roof is designed for is very different from roof to roof. I believe is should be mandatory for the company that owns the roof to make sure that there crew is specifically trained by the manufacture for that type of roof. This training should be done at least bi-annually.  I do not believe the ETCP can give or should give that type of training. 

There has also been talk about local inspectors being responsible for inspecting the roofs for use. I do not believe this will give us the results we are looking for. Most city, county, and state inspectors don't have the time / money  to train with the roof manufactures. To make them effective at certifying the roofs for use they would need to go under the same training as a company that owns the roof. But n this case they would have to be certified in all types of roofs to be effective as an inspector. 

The big hole i see here really is How and Who calls an event off because of weather. Having a plan and an independent person that is not tied into the promoter, band or anyone that has to do with the income of the event i think should be the #1 thing to look at. So many of these event disasters are caused by bad weather. The head rigger is supposed to be able in theory to call the event off or postpone it but it doesn't happen. They are ignored or cant get to the promoter in time to hold the event off or just don't have the information to deal with the weather. With so much at stake, reputations, and money Promoters rarely error on the side of caution. A check and balance approach is what is needed here. 

No one wants to see people get hurt or killed. we are all in the business of helping people get out of there daily lives and put a smile on there face. It is up to all of us to make sure we do this day in and day out in a safe and sane manor. We all have it in us to do this. 



Comment by LEDVIEW--Linda on August 16, 2011 at 12:16am
Pray to the victims. That's really a huge disaster, which maybe can be prevented. If people pay more attention to the omen of strong wind and made related emergency measure, at the same time, make the AV equipments more light weight, maybe the damage could be smaller.
Comment by Scott Walsh on August 15, 2011 at 9:36am
Im absolutely no expert, but from the videos I saw and the news reports I read I'd suggest that maybe there was a problem more with crowd control. If mother nature wants to knock something over not much can stop her. My prayers for the victims.

© 2016   Created by PLSN Magazine.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service