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Review of Sugarland Stage at Indiana State Fair Finds Rigging Wasn’t Up to Code

Indiana State Fair
Joey Foley, Getty Images

The stage that collapsed moments before Sugarland was due to begin their performance at the Indiana State Fair last year wasn’t strong enough to withstand a 68 MPH gust of wind, as required by code. A 59 MPH gust of wind toppled the light and sound rigging on the night of August 13, but parts of the support system began giving way earlier in the evening.

The Associated Press reports that an engineering review done by New York-based Thornton Tomasetti revealed that 33 MPH gusts compromised the structure, and once it could no longer support its own weight, gravity took over. The engineering firm’s president released his report to the state fair commission on Thursday.

“We put ourselves willingly and publicly under the microscope in hopes of preventing a tragedy like that which happened August 13,” fair commission Chairman Andre Lacy said, meaning they weren’t looking to place blame during the day’s proceedings.

The Indianapolis Star reports that today’s findings — which include a report on the fair’s evacuation plan — may shape how lawsuits against the band, the State Fair and the company responsible for erecting the stage will proceed. On Friday, Sugarland is scheduled to record a deposition concerning accusations that they resisted delaying the start of the show.

Seven people were killed and dozens more injured as a result of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse tragedy.

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