Last Minute Decision Saves Sugarland
I knew when I saw the images and videos of the stage falling it was bad, then I wondered what band it was that was supposed to play and why they weren’t hurt.
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.