“We just don’t know how many of these stages there are,” John Erickson, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, told the Indianapolis Star.
The state’s Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission took the action in response to last year’s stage collapse that killed seven concertgoers before Sugarland was to take the stage. It applies to stages with unattached trusses and rigging, such as the ISF grandstand structure that failed Aug. 13, as well as smaller stages with few lights or speakers attached, the paper reported.
The ISF stage platform had been inspected, but not the rigging attached to it. Now, that rigging must also face scrutiny. “This closes a loophole,” Commission Chairman David Hannum told the Star.
Event organizers are now also required to have emergency evacuation plans in place when outdoor stage equipment is used. Buffer zones for fans are required in some cases. Those killed at the state fair were either next to the stage, on it, or in an adjacent VIP section.
Some felt the rules could go further. Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, who authored the House bill that became the rule, gave it a “B-minus,” according to the Star.
“What the evacuation plan lacks is a requirement for a weather-wise person to be included,” he told the paper. “But this is a step in the right direction.”
The new regs will sunset Jan. 1, 2014, when a special commission is expected to refine the rules and make them law.
Meanwhile, lawsuits related to the Aug. 13 stage collapse lurch on, with an attorney for some of the victims seeking to make transcripts of Sugarland’s recent depositions public.
Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush were deposed in April, with a partial transcript of Nettles’ testimony released shortly after. Bush’s deposition was not made public.
Attorney Kenneth J. Allen filed a motion asking a judge’s permission to release the full transcripts, according to the Star.
“There was an assertion that there was a misleading or edited transcript,” he said of the partial release. Reps for the band reportedly claimed that what was released was not “an accurate representation” of what Nettles said.