Sugarland Cancels Concert as State Investigates Deadly Stage Collapse
Sugarland has canceled their scheduled concert at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday (Aug. 14) because an investigation prevented the band from salvaging any live equipment involved in Saturday's deadly stage collapse in Indianapolis.
"Aside from coping with the magnitude of the accident, the ongoing investigation prevents the band from getting what may remain of their stage equipment," a statement on iowastatefair.org reads.
The Iowa date will not be rescheduled and fans will be given refunds for the show, which was to include opening act Sara Bareilles. The Iowa State Fair will hold a moment of silence Monday morning to honor the victims. Sugarland's next concert date, according to its website, is at The Pavillion located at the Hard Rock Casino in Albuquerque, NM on Aug. 18.
Five people are confirmed dead and at least 45 injured in Saturday's accident, which happened around 9 p.m. when the fair's rigging and Sugarland's equipment buckled under the pressure of strong winds at the Indiana State Fair. A source on the ground explains to Billboard.com that the stage is a concrete slab with a rigging framework rising above it that is used throughout the length of the fair. Live acts, such as Sugarland, attach their own gear (sound and lighting) to the rig. Both the fair's rig and the band's gear collapsed on Saturday night.
Governor Mitch Daniels called it a "freakish accident" and the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the State Fire Marshal's office have begun conducting investigations, the Indianapolis Star is reporting. The company that erected the stage, Mid-America Sound Corp., released a statement as well saying they were launching an internal investigation "to understand, to the best of our ability, what happened."
Another chief concern is the initial response by concert promoters to signs that bad weather was approaching. According to published accounts, fans were warned that the weather could turn bad but were told the concert would go on as planned. When the wind storm kicked up, many began leaving but most fans stuck around. Four people died on the scene and a fifth -- a member of the lighting crew -- was pronounced dead Sunday morning.
It is not clear how long it will take to clean up the collapsed rigging. The Hoosier Lottery Grandstand is the sight of most major live acts at the Indiana State Fair and Janet Jackson is scheduled to perform there on Wednesday (Aug. 17). A spokesman for the fair has not responded to questions on whether Jackson's or any other future shows (Maroon 5/Train performs Aug. 18) will be postponed or moved to another venue.
Jackson, a native Hoosier from Gary, told fans on Sunday she was "heartbroken" by the tragedy. "Prayers and love to Indiana."
Additional reporting by Jillian Mapes.