Stage collapse raises concerns in Ottawa
Bluesfest, Canada Day organizers defend stages days after one man killed in Toronto
Posted: Jun 18, 2012 1:34 PM ET
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2012 7:35 PM ET
A stage collapse in Toronto has brought back bad memories in Ottawa and raised more concerns about stages at two upcoming events in the city.A powerful thunderstorm toppled the main stage at the Ottawa Bluesfest. (Adam Dietrich/Canadian Press)
Ontario arts safety consultant, Janet Sellery, also sparked discussion when she spoke out over the weekend against what she called "inconsistent labour and safety standards" that she believes are endangering workers at "increasingly ambitious" outdoor music shows.
The Canada Day celebration and RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest, where the main stage collapsed last year, are both taking place in a few weeks.
The events insist their stages are more stable than the one at Downsview Park in Toronto, which collapsed Saturday killing one person.
Officials from both events also said their stages come from a different company than the one that built the Toronto stage.
Bluesfest released a statement Monday detailing the festival's new 2012 main stage, which is from Premier Global Productions and is made of welded steel and features concrete ballasts. It will also be built "from the ground up" on site.
Bluefest stage collapse sparks changes
This is just one of the changes that came after last year’s Bluesfest main stage, designed by Groupe Berger, toppled before classic rock band Cheap Trick took the stage on Bluesfest's final evening last year.Bluesfest President and CEO Mark Monahan says the festival has never worked so hard on their stage preparation. (CBC)
"We’re doing a lot more work prior to the festival and prior to assembly than we ever did before," said Mark Monahan, Bluesfest’s executive director.
The festival has also hired an independent company from Halifax to monitor the weather patterns and hired a new structural engineer. Organizers are trying to ease any nerves weeks before Bluesfest begins.
"The new main stage is a completely different design style from the scaffold stage at Downsview Park," the statement read.
"While we do not have the design details of the stage ... from the photographs it can be seen that it is of scaffold construction."
The statement also said last year's stage was a "mobile structure that is of steel and aluminum construction".
For Canada Day, the stage comes from Danaco out of Montreal and features steel columns. The event’s production coordinator said the stage is "completely different" than the one in Toronto.
Workers started building the structure last week.
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