Thursday, August 6, 2009

1 Dead and 75 Injured at Canadian Music Festival as Windstorm Blows-down Stage Towers and Canopy

August 1, 2009, Camrose, Alberta, Canada (about 100 kilometres southeast of Edmonton) About 6:00 PM local time Saturday a sudden windstorm drove dust and debris into the Big Valley Jamboree Music Festival attended by about 15-21,000 country music fans. An amateur video of the incoming storm and post collapse mess has been posted on YouTube at:

The Toronto News story can be found here:

And the news report from PLSN can be found here:

Canadian safety officials will be investigating the roof collapse for further details of the structural failure. The YouTube video shows that the towers were tied-off with guy-wires to very large concrete blocks, and the post collapse pictures show many of those wires still intact. It appears that the shear magnitude of the wide gusts applied to the wind-loading surfaces of the canopy were more than the structure could withstand. Fortunately, the wind came from behind the audience area and drove the structure upstage and away from the audience.

As a side note, the YouTube video also shows a concert technician climbing the trusswork prior to the incident, and although wearing a Fall Protection Harness that was equipped with a Shock Absorption Lanyard, it is clear that he was not tied-off to the structure while he was climbing. Safety Equipment won't work if you don't use it!

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