Monday, June 18, 2012

Stage Canopy Collapse in Toronto Claims One Life

Saturday, June 16, 2012 - Toronto, Canada - Workers erecting the stage for a Radiohead concert scattered as the framework above the stage came crashing down, pining and killing one worker.  The weather was calm and wind did not appear to be a factor.  Arial shots of the aftermath show a scaffold style framework that did not involve portable concert trussing.  The incident occurred at around 4:00PM before the concert and any audience had been allowed into the venue.  The concert was cancelled.

According to Ian McClellend with the cities' EMS department, one man was extricated from under the wreckage and pronounced dead at the scene;  another was transported to the hospital with head injuries; and two more were assessed with minor injuries and released on the scene.

The Canadian Ministry of Labour will be investigating to see what the root cause of the structure collapse was.

More information can be found at:

Friday, June 8, 2012

In a minute . . you can lose everything

Bulwark, a manufacturer of fire retardant clothing, has commissioned a short film about the fragility of our existence.  The images in the film, along with the narrative, are well produced and thought provoking.  The film, 451°, is titled as a play on the famous Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451.  The intricate model constructed for the filming is similar to the scale stage sets frequently fabricated to conceptualize a project during the design phase.  Check it out!

Bulwark's products can be useful to those working in the performing arts in areas that involve pyrotechnics, open flames, or the risk of arc-flash exposure when working around electrical panels.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Crowd Management Must Be Proactive, Not Reactive

For whatever reason, celebrity appearances seem to bring-out the hysteria in fans, photographers, and sometimes even in those assigned to protect them.  Current pop icon Justin Beiber seems to fill that role today, as a string of appearances has left many injured in his wake.  Perusing the internet will reveal numerous press items that describe crowd management issues that should not have occurred.

In Santiago, Chile, Justin was to stay at a hotel prior to a local appearance.  His trip was delayed a day, but the crowd outside the hotel didn't know it.  Something triggered them to believe he was on premise and they pushed past a weak perimeter to swarm forward and overwhelm the hotel staff.  The event was captured on tape by someone in the hotel.

At an autograph signing appearance in a Macy's department store, an undercover policeman perceived the throngs of fans to be a threat, and attempted to move Mr. Beiber away.  Due to lack of security coordination and the plain clothes dress of the policeman, the private security company and Mr. Beiber fought-off the policeman thinking he was the threat.  Eventually, the policeman identified himself and charged one of the private security guards with interfering with police business.  The charges were later dropped.
A recent appearance in Norway on May 30, 2012, lead to Oslo police nearly declaring a state of emergency as tens of thousands of teenage Bieber fans descended on the city, mobbing the streets.

Mayor Stang said it got so chaotic that he had to hide behind a tree at one point to avoid getting trampled.

After 49 teenage girls were injured in the fandemonium, and 14 were taken by ambulance for emergency care, Oslo's mayor launched an investigation into the near-catastrophic event.  No one was seriously injured, but Mayor Fabian Stang complained: "I have already called on the Emergency Planning Agency to examine the entire event from the planning stage to its implementation. We have to find out what went wrong and why it happened.  No state of emergency was ever declared." Camilla Bjorn, a VGTV reporter in Oslo, told E! News. "However, there has been a ton of critique towards official police and Universal Music [Bieber's label] because they were not prepared.  They had not taken into consideration the chaos that could occur."
When you have guest appearances of pop stars or controversial people, it is vital that security and crowd management be closely coordinated and advised of the types of behaviors that might manifest themselves.  Review of prior event issues with the celebrities' advance team is helpful, as they can help local officials to better understand what to expect.  There can always be a gap in perception between older administrators and younger fans, and between city or state officials and those parties that may hold strong emotions about issues related to the celebrities, whether they are artistic, political, or even criminal (hooligans bent on anarchy or property damage or theft under the cover of crowd chaos).

Monday, June 4, 2012

The way it is supposed to work - WORKS!

An outdoor show at Buffalo New York's Coca-Cola Field was cancelled due to threatening weather conditions on June 1st, 2012.  The event, featuring country music performer Eric Church, was delayed twice as the stage roof was lowered due to strong wind gusts, and after some of the stabilizing guy wires snapped, it was decided that it was too risky to continue with the show.

Other factors cited were increasing rain and lightning strikes in the area.  The cancellation set-off a few unruly responses from the crowd and some folding chairs were tossed onto the stage.

This is a great step forward in that the event organizers recognized that it would be better to postpone the event until a future date rather than risk injuries to performers, crew, or the audience.  The ticket holders will be given the opportunity to come back in a few weeks to see the show once it is rescheduled.

More information about the cancellation can be found here:

And a formal statement from the event promoter is here: