Sugarland likely saved by tour manager's decision
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It came down to seconds and one instinctive decision that may have saved the lives of country duo Sugarland and others at the Indiana State Fair where five people died when a stage collapsed.
Tour manager Hellen Rollens looked at the sky and decided to hold the band backstage. A minute later, 60 to 70 mph wind gusts toppled the roof and the metal scaffolding holding lights and other equipment on Saturday night in Indianapolis. It crashed into the audience, killing four instantly and fifth later at a hospital. Dozens were injured, some critically.
When they heard the deafening boom of the stage crashing, Sugarland and crew hit the ground and took cover against a wall, thinking it was going to collapse on top of them. At some point, they made it out of the dust and debris and converged on their tour bus.
“There was no running out anywhere,” Sugarland manager Gail Gellman told The Associated Press on Monday. “No one knew what happened. It was just the moment when your eyes get big.”
Gellman said others felt it was safe to go on stage, but Rollens ultimately acted on her intuition.
“As a tour manager, it’s super important to understand what the weather conditions are when you play outside. We’ve always talked about not putting the band on during wind, lightning or heavy rain,” said Gellman, who was in Las Vegas with another client that night.
“Everybody was standing in a prayer circle getting ready to go onstage, and Hellen, as she was walking down the ramp, the stage fell. So her decision to hold them for literally a minute saved every band member and crew’s life.”
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients