High wind caused a stage collapse hours before the British band Radiohead was set to take the stage at a Toronto venue. Scott Johnson, a 30-year-old member of the band’s road crew, was crushed to death, and several others were injured.
Police spokesman Tony Vella said crew were setting up the stage when it collapsed.
“They were setting up when the top portion collapsed on top of them. Unfortunately, four people were hurt. The remainder of the people, when they heard the stage coming down, ran from the area,” Vella said.
Dusty Lalas, an employee with Toronto Radio Station “The Edge,” which was sponsoring the concert, said the structure suddenly caved in.
“There was a loud crash and it sounded like sheet metal and lightning and we just saw the stage collapse,” Lalas said.
Radiohead tweeted that “due to unforeseen circumstances tonight’s concert at downsview park tonight has been canceled. Fans are advised not to make their way to the venue.”
Radiohead’s website had listed the concert as being sold out, with 40,000 tickets sold.
Jaime Rivest, 33, said at around 4 p.m. the stage suddenly came down, crumpling and falling onto itself.
“It was like a tornado hit the stage and in just moments the stage came down with metal everywhere,” she said.
Rivest said security officials rushed to evacuate the area. She said there was possibly about 1,000 people there hours before Radiohead was to take the stage at 9:30 p.m. The doors for the show opened at 5 p.m. and other acts were scheduled to perform.
Police said the park wasn’t full, but there was a considerable crowd of people already waiting for the show amid sunny and clear conditions.
Viljakainen said the Ministry of Labor would investigate to determine the cause of the collapse. NPR, 17 June 2012.
The band released a statement about the death, saying they were “shattered by the loss of Scott Johnson, our friend and colleague. He was a lovely man, always positive, supportive and funny; a highly skilled and valued member of our great road crew. We will miss him very much.” via Radiohead official website.
Six people were killed last summer in Indianapolis after a stage collapsed onto the crowd just before the start of a Sugarland concert. The band was later sued in civil court for negligence.