Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Stage Tower Collapse

Hey folks, please be careful out there when you are working outdoor shows. The wind is a wicked and powerful foe. It can pick-up tents, topple towers, and generally wreck havoc. The latest report is somewhat belated as it occurred July 18th, just one day after the Madonna concert canopy rig fell in France. This time it was at an outdoor concert in Guangzhou, China.

There are several videos out on YouTube that show a very shaky cell-phone cam of the show. At one point the camera pans toward stage left and shows a large scaffolding-type lighting tower with some line array speakers also hanging from it. Later in the video there is much confusion and yelling with a few shots of the collapsed scaffolding and several people climbing through it.

Not surprisingly, there is VERY LITTLE media coverage of this and virtually no acknowledgement of anything by the promoter or sponsors. Some news articles say the cellphone video shows the I-Mag video screen falling forward toward the audience, but that is not what this writer sees. The cause of the scaffolding collapse may be related to an incoming hurricane (cyclone) and large tarps tied to the scaffolding acting like windsails.

This is not much different than what happened in 1990 in Brooklyn, New York at the Martin Luther King Music Festival at Wingate Field. Curtis Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down in an onstage accident after high winds cause a 600 pound lighting rig to fall on him during an outdoor concert. Eyewitnesses described the moment as “A small twister of some sort tornado-like, just came out of nowhere.” He was 48 years of age at the time of the accident. Curtis Mayfield was best known as the lead singer for The Impressions and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film “Superfly.” Fortunately he was able to write, produce, sing, and record while lying on his back, but sadly was unable to play the guitar anymore.

Unrelated to either of these events are also numerous report over the years of stage canopies, tents, and other concert paraphernalia being blown over by high winds. Everytime these events happen there is always someone that is quoted in the media as saying "We never thought that this could happen . . . blah, blah, blah."

It's time to wake-up out there! It can happen! It does happen! It could happen to you! If you don't know the weather, your rig, and your loads, don't do the show. Today we have Doppler Radar, Internet real-time weather, and very accurate wind speed measuring devices. Install them, use them, monitor them continuously like your life depends upon it. It does.

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