Music News

The inquest into the fatal Radiohead stage collapse begins in Toronto Monday

On the afternoon of June 16, 2012, just minutes before Radiohead was scheduled to do a soundcheck ahead of their gig at Downsview Park in Toronto, the scaffolding above a specially-constructed stage collapsed. It was holding 27,000 kg of gear.

Scott Johnson, Phil Selway’s drum tech, was onstage at the time. He was killed by a video monitor that weighed 2,270 kg. Three other members of the crew were injured.

What followed was a farcical series of investigations, lawsuits, countersuits, charges, trials and, in the end, a mistrial that left everything unresolved. No one has ever been found accountable.

How? Because in 2016, the stage company, the promoter and the engineer in charge of building the stage had all thirteen charges against them stayed because it took too long to bring everything to trial.

However, almost seven years after the accident, a coroner’s inquest will be held starting Monday (March 25). Running over the next three weeks, some twenty-five witnesses will be called.

This is not a trial. Instead, it’s an investigation into what went wrong that day. Any recommendations will be non-binding. Still, it’s something.

Scott Johnson’s father Ken will testify. There will also be representation from the band. I’ll keep you posted.

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.

Alan Cross has 38321 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “The inquest into the fatal Radiohead stage collapse begins in Toronto Monday

  • Hi Allan, like your Site a lot and receive e-mails now every day I know you seem to be more into the Music Tech as well as he Broadcasts and probably have not much time to check out Bands touring across Canada. ( Let me get back to this,
    I really am glad to see that you have and are aware and representing a view for the Radiohead Tour and ultimate tragedy with a death and several injuries happening to all the unfortunate victims. I am a Fan but was not there but did follow this at the time as well. It seems now that the most people affected are of course Family members who are still wanting anything believable that may have caused this situation ( and the crux is nobody would want this to happen anytime) but none the less it seems up til now the people involved have been left with trying to resolve it with the Justice system and not because of it. I don’t know if they will be satisfied but hope with this move it will help in the process of getting justice and compensation for their Son’s death ( which I think at the very least with all the personal tragedy they have experienced and no doubt have taken on the Justice system ( with there dime I think is just a burden and another move that the Justice system finds itself in …. after all it was an accident. Right!)
    I think everyone involved should be held responsible that was involved in producing the Show would accept that responsibility> it would seem like the only choice to make.). For this it really creates all kinds of negative effects to see technicalities appearing from the very top to the very bottom of what kind of mentality ( hide behind your Lawyer and hope he’s a good one.) I have no doubt there have been payoffs between certain parties involved as well as compliance ( hey… great..we won’t say anything of significance to weaken or strengthen any ‘fight’ that may come up against us that may lead to our guilt (or responsibility) in this (mess) OK. We got it!
    Isn’t this Business in the Music world unacceptable to anybody (not involved personally). I have little respect for Live Nation the fact this happened at all some blame should be accepted. I know things can happen beyond anybodies foresight but if it does which seems clearly to have happened ……some people have to ‘fess up’ instead of trying to which has already happened the case runs out of time. We all still are our Brother’s keeper except these Guys seem to think as long as it does not happen to them. It’s very sad , disturbing that this has happened. like the faceless protecting the unapproachable to seek justice for the perished and broken. It really is that bad.
    I remember the Dauphin Fest had the same incident and they shut down for a year or two but started up again ( got funded) also have had various serious Campground (rapes, fights are still apart of the new Fest) happening. Don’t hear much about that if the Press (not friends in the Press get so weirded out and decide to keep it in the Office cause …it a good thing for the area, which it is. But needs some tweaking this is not Woodstock anymore for sure.
    I think this action by Family and Representation for them get some kind of relief and satisfaction for their brave stance on this. It just should not have happened the way it did. Peace and Love to them….Really. Best Regards Allen hope this gets Better. Dave


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