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Regarding the stage rigging failure in Ottawa


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Seems to me that sucker was not rigged well. I do this kind of work very often and granted Mother Nature can be a super bitch sometimes and nothing will stop her....... but I am concerned that it went over. That most of the rig collapsed.


Truss components and any fastener or related system has a safety rating..... how much load it can take etc. The working load before it fails. You also have to factor in any rigging design that reduces the load rating, like cantilevering and loads placed on the system like hanging speakers or lighting rigs, how many support systems there are and where they are placed.....is there too much unsupported truss between uprights, are there enough kickers etc etc etc.


PLUS.....when you are rigging over or around people you always factor in an added safety percentage to that, be it 5% or 15% whatever. Subtract that from the given load limits. You have to.


You also should have cable guy lines going from selected points on the rig to some sort of ballast on the ground, be it concrete pier blocks or special water filled containers with attachments for the cabling. The cables are tensioned with turnbuckles and are arranged so there is tension all around the rig. The weight of the ballast is pre calculated going by the weight of the rig....the thickness of the aircraft cable you use is also determined by the load.


You especially want to do additional safety cabling if there is some sort of fabric or vinyl material attached over and around the truss columns forming a top and side's. These will act like a giant sail in a high wind and load the system immensely.


The very worst scenario is a shock load. A sudden violent load such as a system falling a few feet before the safety cable goes taught. It throws the rating of the cable out the window. Shock loads are a bitch. This is why the whole system need to be under some sort of tension in vectors around the rig, lot's of good angles on the cable, lot's of triangulation.


This would be a bit of a bitch though for the front of the stage area as far as interfering with the concert goers view of the stage and performers. The overhead stage rigging collapsed to the rear. I wonder if it is possible that IF the front had some good cabling on it preventing a rearward shift, would it have helped prevent the overhead rigging from collapsing?


Having said all of this I don't want to armchair quarterback. I don't know what safety systems they had, I am absolutely sure there was some safety system(s) in place.......I have zero idea of what the actual rigging was. Concert riggers are usually a highly skilled bunch and it really all comes down to the person who designed the rig, but then the riggers themselves who 100% need to point out to the lead rigger any system they are unsure of or it it looks unsafe. Not only do they do the hard work, they are also the eyes and ears for the person in charge.


But what I heard was that it was a 56mph wind. That is high but it's no tornado...LOL!!


On our overhead rigs that hang or work from lifts or cranes, we have to take them down at around 20-25mph.



Looking at some photo's I found I do see what appears to be concrete ballast.


In this image you see the firefighter standing on some concrete with a larger block to the right. A cable appears to be attached to the one he is standing on.




In this one you see how the stage is kaput but the "screen" on the left is fine.





I am curious if the self erecting truss column was placed on top of the concrete riser with the form on top? To make up extra height perhaps? I am looking at the photo's trying to see if I can spot a weak system anywhere.




LMAO......first of all, you would not have found me in this workspace on top of this tower...no way Jose. BUT...you can see it is cabled....and it still stands. Only two truss columns though....what is up with that?!!!!! That looks totally hokey to me....just sayin'. However....it did not go down.




However...look at the steep angles of the cabling.....less angle is preferable of course, way stronger even though the cable length is greater.




I am going to venture it will come down to something that someone did, or did not do, which set the system up to fail under a certain load or direction of stress. Somewhere there was a weak link, incorrectly designed system, faulty component or a series of systems that were bound to fail under a shock load.


However, I really hope I am wrong and that the riggers did a wonderful job that could just not have withstood the force of nature...a freak accident. Either way, the truth might never be told so as not to frighten the public, make them lose faith and trust in future rigs, concerts etc.


Someone's nuts are in a vice though!


Here is the article I used the photographs from.



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I was standing about 10 feet front of the stage when it all started. The 56MPH number was from the weather forecast that said that gusts could be that high. Environment Canada later stated it was a microcell with tornado-strength winds of over 100MPH. I can tell you that the wind was fierce.


I looked over my left shoulder and saw about 1000 birds flying in the opposite direction from the advancing storm and then looked over my right to see chairs and tables from the gold circle section of another stage being tossed about like leaves.


I just said to my wife, "we gotta go now!" and we started to walk quickly away from the stage and made it about 20-30 feet away when the winds and debris (lots of dust and dead grass, loose garbage) hit. Knocked some folks off their feet but was very localized. It hit the stage and the materials started to rattle and then you could hear cracking sounds. We were in a full run by this time and watched the stage collapse over our shoulder.


I can tell you that it was an IMPOSSIBLE thought at the time that no one was killed. You could not count to 5 between the time the band cut their song short and left the stage and it collapsed. The stage was full of event crew, band crew and some VIPs as well.


It was violent and devastating. Of course there were sound and light towers in the midst of the audience that were shaking badly as well. To know now that the few people who were injured have all been released from hospital is an incredible relief.


My wife and I took a circuitous route to avoid stages, towers and tented areas to make it back to the War Museum which is the only permanent structure on the grounds...


We looked for a while for friends we knew were as close to the stage but it was looking for a needle in a haystack as everyone from the entire event was there, full of shock and confusion.


We eventually made our way home, working the cell phones to check on folks. In a fluke I passed the singer in my band, Terry, and her son (who were just as close but downwind) walking in the rain near the grounds and gave them a lift home.


I'm sure there will be lots of opinions about the quality of the rigging or the integrity of the stage, but this was an incredibly powerful weather event that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

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Wow RobRose - Nothin like a first hand report. Thanks. Glad you and everyone else there are ok.

Usually concerts are memorable because of the music. :laugh:



The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell


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That's insane man. The unbelievable thing is how fast this storm happened. Usually you have some sort of notice, sometimes even an hour or more. This sucker was on you before any preparation was possible. At the least if people knew it was oming they could have attempted to cut loose the vinyl sides and top to reduce the force of the wind on the structure.


That makes a bit of a difference....100mph instead of 56mph...... :o:sick:


Anyway, I am so happy you and the missus made it out unscathed.

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Hmmm, coulda swore that I posted about the whacky weather being caused by "New Ice Age" colliding with "Global Warming" to create a ginormus occluded front that will spawn tornicanes and huurinados all over the world. Also worked in a mention of the coming Mayan Apocogeddan.


Maybe the Illuminati believed my post was too close to the truth so it was "dealt with"

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Glad to hear Rob made it through... I live in the West end and had considered going, but had baseball. Looked like it wanted to rain for a while, but nothing... then gale-force winds out of nowhere a good 3 minutes before the rain came, which was strange.


Guys on the other side of town whole actually made it to the baseball park while standing in the parking lot said their faces were being 'sandblasted' from the infield dirt 50 feet away.

I'd definitely say micro-burst... didn't even last that long.

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I haven't played outside that much. One memorable one was at one of the NY marathons, where it was cold and drizzly but nothing life threatening. I was playing alongside a mediocre singer/songwriter with limited guitar skills, who insisted on stretching out a lame song for 20 minutes or so... without even any guitar solos. One guy came up later and said, "do you guys only know one SONG??"

I'd be afraid to play electric guitar in a storm, actually. Electrocutions don't happen all that often, thank God, but I wouldn't want to be the NEXT victim!

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