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MONDAY // MARCH 12, 2018

In just ten days, the Event Safety Alliance will host its Severe Weather Summit at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma, and we thought we would share some of the structural mishaps and tragedies that occurred in 2017 alone.

We can learn from the structural mishaps and tragedies that have occurred worldwide by educating ourselves and others. According to the ESA, “recent history shows that severe weather can disrupt even the best-laid plans. When it does, the results can be physically and financially catastrophic.”   

Outlined by ESA, here are some highlights we chose to discuss off the full sheet. You may view their full list here.

Truss Stage Roof Collapse

  • Where: Atmosphere dance music festival in Esteio, Southern Brazil
  • When: December 12, 2017
  • What happened: High winds
  • Deaths: Brazilian DJ Kaleb Freitas was pronounced dead upon arrival at the local hospital, after suffering head injuries from debris following the collapse
  • Error: Severe weather warnings regarding the high winds were issued, yet the festival went on

Scaff Tower Collapse

  • Where: Festival Ceremonia in Toluca (outskirts of Mexico City)
  • When: April 1, 2017
  • What happened: High winds & small twisters; bad vertical joints
  • Deaths: None
  • No error: The severe weather conditions knocked over portable bathrooms as well as caused damage to scaffolds. Winds blew off the main stage screen, and festival organizers delayed the festival schedule to repair and assess; the festival cancelled for the evening and finally rescheduled for Sunday. Thanks to festival organizers no one was hurt and the immense support eased the disappointment of Saturday’s cancellation.  

Stage Roof Collapse

  • Where: Sugat Kabanhawan Festival in Cebu, Philippines
  • When: April 16, 2017
  • What happened: Heavy rains caused a stage collapse, where festival-goers were taking shelter from the rain
  • Deaths: 0; 10 injured (including 3 minors), one severely injured
  • Error: The scaffolding foundation grew weak from the flooded ground

Stage Fire

  • Where: Tomorrowland Unite Spain music festival in Barcelona
  • When: July 29, 2017
  • What happened: The speaker system caught fire, causing a huge explosion of fire on stage, fans reported.
  • Deaths: 0; none injured
  • Error: The pyrotechnic spectacle overheated the material used in constructing the stage

Dance Floor Collapse

  • Where: Panorama Festival in Randall’s Island, New York City
  • When: July 30, 2017
  • What happened: Fans backed away from an area where the floor appeared to collapse
  • Error: Isaiah Rashad’s set was very high capacity and even had a long line during the incident, the Brooklyn Vegan reported.

Aerial Mishap - Winch Failure

  • Where: Finn’s Beach Club in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
  • When: November 6, 2017
  • What happened: Sam Panda, 26, an aerial acrobat fell to the ground at 13 ft. high as she hung upside down in a metal hoop suspended from a rig on stage, after the metal cable came loose.
  • Deaths: None; Panda broke her neck as soon as she hit the stage
  • Error: Inspection; Her friend said Panda felt unsafe with the equipment & had an outside company inspect its security, reported Daily Mail.   

Stage Prop Totem Collapse

  • Where: Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City
  • When: October 1, 2017
  • What happened: Marilyn Manson “grabbed onto some metal bars between a pair of prop pistols; one of the pieces tipped over onto him, crushing bones in his right leg…” Rolling Stone reported.
  • Deaths: None; Manson broke his fibula in two places, and ended with 10 screws and a plate inserted into the bone
  • Error: Performer error

Dance Floor Collapse

  • Where: Butterfly Disco Pub in Tenerife, Canary Island
  • When: November 29, 2017
  • What happened: Attendees fell approximately ten feet into the basement after the floor gave way; it “literally broke in half and people plunged into the basement below,” Daily Mail. The collapse impacted part of the stage and floor areas.
  • Deaths: None; 22 injured including a 59-year old with a broken leg and 57-year old with head injuries
  • Errors: TBA

To learn more about the ESA’s Severe Weather Summit on March 22-23, visit