Meanwhile, back at the Radiohead stage collapse inquest, some scary revelations and discoveries

Today marks the start of the third (and perhaps final) week of the coroner’s inquest into what went wrong on June 16, 2012, at Downsview Park when the roof of Radiohead’s temporary stage came crashing down, killing drum tech Scott Johnson and injuring three others.

This is not a trial, so no charges will be laid and no one will go to jail. It’s merely an investigation into what went wrong that day in hopes of preventing any future tragedies.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

  • The stage components themselves were 30 years old.
  • Construction of the stage deviated from the official plans in several ways, including a missing ten-foot load-bearing truss that was never used. Workers instead used various workarounds to compensate over the years. Anyone who saw the plans assumed that this component was a typo.
  • There was a shortage of clamps used to secure various components of the stage. The beam forming the room was supposed to be held in place with four clamps. Only two were used. This resulted in shifts of the structural beams, movement that contributed to the collapse.
  • A diagonal metal brace was missing from one of the towers. Everything fell down before it could be bolted into place.
  • There was confusion about who was actually in charge of assembling the stage.
  • There were no work or building permits issued because the stage was being erected on federal land. Ontario building codes did not apply.
  • Because this was a temporary structure, there was no third party oversight of the build.
  • The load on the roof was 34,500 kg, which pushed the limits of the stage’s design.

Sounds like a total clusterf*ck, no? More at the CBC.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Meanwhile, back at the Radiohead stage collapse inquest, some scary revelations and discoveries

  • April 8, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Makes you wonder just how many festival stages are built to the same standards.

    • April 8, 2019 at 10:29 am

      There is a sister stage to this flawed one that is still in use around the world.


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