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SA supreme court rejects appeal over concert death

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) of South Africa has rejected an appeal by one of the companies held responsible for a scaffolding tower collapse that killed one person at a Linkin Park show in South Africa in 2012.

In 2017, nearly five years after the death of 32-year-old Florentina Popa, Cape Town magistrate Ingrid Arntsen ruled that Vertex Scaffolding, Bothma Signs and Hirt & Carter – which constructed two large scaffolding towers at Cape Town Stadium and hung an advertisement for Lucozade between them – had been negligent and could be “causally linked” to Popa’s death, while Big Concerts, the promoter of the show, was found not to be responsible.

Popa died of blunt-force trauma after the tower fell on her in strong winds before Linkin Park show’s at the 58,309-seat stadium on 7 November 2012.

Arntsen said the companies should have foreseen that even moderate winds could have blown it over. “[W]inds with speeds of up to 15 metres per second were eminently foreseeable in Cape Town, and the towers could have been designed and constructed in such a way as to withstand the winds that were recorded on the day of the concert,” she said at the time.

“There is, in my view, no discernible material error of law … on which a review might be founded”

“It would appear, then, from all the evidence, that while the wind did come up and create problems, there was no real fear on the part of anyone in authority at the concert that the towers would blow over.”

Durban-based Hirt & Carter, which produces billboards and digital advertising, took the inquest’s findings to the Western Cape High Court, which dismissed the appeal, and then to the Supreme Court of appeal, which has upheld the high court’s ruling.

SCA judge Sulet Potterill, with four judges concurring, found that Arntsen “cannot be faulted for concluding that the death of the deceased was brought about by an act or omission that prima facie amounts to or involves an offence on the part of Hirt & Carter”, reports News24.

“It was premised on a finding of negligence on the part of Hirt & Carter. There is, in my view, no discernible material error of law by the magistrate of the kind on which a review might be founded. Indeed, I can find no error at all.”

Hirt & Carter’s appeal argued that the magistrate had erred when she found that it had omitted to supervise and manage the erection of the towers, which it said was the responsibility of a subcontractor (Bothma Signs).

In her judgment, Potterill disagreed, saying Arntsen “was correctly unpersuaded that the subcontracting of Bothma Signs and Vertex, against the facts of the case, could be relied on to exonerate Hirt & Carter.”

A further 19 people were injured in the accident, with 12 requiring hospitalisation.

 


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$33m settlement for Ghost Ship fire lawsuits

The city of Oakland has reached a $32.7 million settlement with the families of those killed by the tragic blaze at  unlicensed music venue and artists’ collective Ghost Ship in 2016.

The fire, which was the worst structural disaster in northern California since the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, killed 36 people in total, most of whom were at Ghost Ship for an electronic music party.

The Oakland City Council has now authorised the settlements of lawsuits filed by the families of 32 victims.

“This was a horrific tragedy that deeply impacted every corner of our community,” reads a statement from the city attorney’s office. According to the statement, the city decided to settle because of the possible legal costs, and does not acknowledge any liability for the incident.

“This was a horrific tragedy that deeply impacted every corner of our community”

Prosecutors contend that Derick Almena, the master tenant on the warehouse lease, was criminally negligent when he converted and sublet the space as a residence for artists and an event venue.

Almena was charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, with a retrial – following an initial mistrial – scheduled for October. A co-defendant, Max Harris, was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter charges last year, while the building’s owner, Chor Ng, has not been charged with a crime.

The blaze, which was believed to have been caused by an electrical fire, echoed another tragic incident at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania, the same year, which claimed the lives of 64 people.

Last year, prison sentences were handed out to 13 people in conjunction with the Colectiv fire, including the venue owners, pyrotechnic specialists and city officials.

Photo: Jim Heaphy/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)

 


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Third Summer of Love? Illegal raves on the rise in UK

Thousands of Britons are believed to have attended illegal, non-socially distanced ‘quarantine raves’ on Friday and Saturday (12–13 June), prompting concerns of a spike in new Covid-19 infections.

In scenes that looked more like the late-80s heyday of acid house than the locked-down Britain of 2020, ravers defied restrictions on gatherings of more than six people to drink, dance and get far too close to one another at unlicensed parties in woodland near cities including Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford and Lichfield, Staffordshire.

The largest parties were in Manchester, with an estimated 6,000 people believed to have attended two raves, in Daisy Nook Country Park and near Carrington, a village in Trafford, on Saturday night. The illegal events were roundly condemned after one person died of a suspected drug overdose in the country park, and two men were stabbed and a woman raped in Carrington.

Sacha Lord, founder of Parklife festival and Manchester’s night-time economy adviser, described those who attended as a “disgrace” who have put themselves and their loved ones at infection.

Social media video from the Daisy Nook event appears to show revellers dancing and inhaling nitrous oxide, while a banner above the DJ booth is emblazoned ‘quarantine rave’:

“Gathering for an illegal rave at a local beauty spot is something that would be rightly condemned at any time, for the danger it places people in and the mess that is left for others to clean up,” says the leader of Oldham Council, Sean Fielding, “though for this to happen in the middle of a global coronavirus pandemic adds an entirely new dimension to how irresponsible and selfish this gathering was.

“Gathering in these numbers under these circumstances has put many more people at risk of harm than just those present.”

In Brookhay Woods, near Lichfield, one raver was arrested after spitting at a police officer, according to Staffordshire Police, while the event near Leeds forced road closures after partygoers left the area by walking along motorways.

“DIY alternatives are being organised by opportunists, using unscrupulous suppliers who are purely focused on financial gain with no regard for safety”

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), has called for those organising or supplying services to illegal raves to be blacklisted by the industry.
“Small house parties and raves have been bubbling under the surface of society for many years now, but the current situation under lockdown has intensified this, as young people search for alternatives and continue in a struggle to cope with the current restrictions on their lives due to the pandemic,” he says.

“The night-time economy and events sector provide safe spaces for young people to express themselves, but are currently unable to open, DIY alternatives are being organised by opportunists, using unscrupulous suppliers who are purely focused on financial gain, with no regard for the safety of those attending. The terrible incidents this weekend at an illegal rave in Manchester resulted in several serious incidents and the sad death of a young man from a drug overdose.

“The NTIA does not condone this kind of activity in any way, as this behaviour adds to an already challenging reputation for the night-time economy and events sector sector with regulators. Operators and suppliers breaking the law for profit and encouraging illegal raves should be blacklisted.

“Thousands of promoters and venues remain closed to save lives and the NHS [National Health Service], while struggling to maintain their businesses while a small minority are now running illegal events jeopardising the hard work and sacrifice of others.”

 


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Coronavirus forces end of Love Parade inquiry

A regional court in Germany has ordered a definitive end to the trial of the organisers of the 2010 Love Parade festival.

The current trial began in December 2017 after previous legal proceedings cleared the defendants – four employees of festival promoter Lopavent and six of the city of Duisburg, in North Rhine-Westphalia – of any wrongdoing.

While prosecutors said at the start of the trial they were confident of securing prosecutions, the impact of the coronavirus means that reaching a verdict before the ten-year statute of limitations expires in July would be impossible, Duisburg regional court ruled. The trial lasted 184 days, according to Deutsche Welle.

Twenty-one people died, and more than 650 were injured, on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the long-running techno festival. Over a million people are said to have attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard in Duisburg with a capacity of around 250,000.

The victims included festivalgoers from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China and the Netherlands.

 


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Growing number of artists contract coronavirus

Updated 8/4/20: US folk and country singer John Prine has passed away due to complications from Covid-19, aged 73. Garnering praise from the likes of Johnny Cash and Roger Waters over the years, artists including Bruce Sprinsteen, Ron Sexsmith and Bonnie Raitt are among those to have paid tribute to the late singer.

 


As cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, continue to mount around the world, members of the live music community are among those falling ill.

Pink, whose Beautiful Trauma tour was the highest grossing of 2019, raking in $215.2 million, is among artists to have contracted coronavirus. The singer, who has now recovered, is donating $1m to support health care workers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Other artists to have contracted the virus include English singer Marianne Faithfull, who is being treated in hospital, US singer-songwriter Christopher Cross, actor and DJ Idris Elba, producer Andrew Watt, rapper Slim Thug, rock artist Jackson Browne and Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo.

‘Love Song’ singer Sara Bareilles recently revealed she had been ill with the virus, but is now fully recovered.

Tragically, the live music world has lost a number of great talents to coronavirus in recent weeks. Artists to have passed away from Covid-19 include Fountains of Wayne bassist and songwriter Adam Schlesinger, who died on 1 April, aged 52. Schlesinger’s achievements include co-writing Fountains of Wayne hits including ‘Stacy’s Mom’ and his soundtrack work on Crazy Ex Girlfriend, A Colbert Christmas and That Thing You Do!.

Tragically, the live music world has lost a number of great talents to coronavirus in recent weeks

US country music singer Joe Diffie, passed away on 29 March, aged 61, known for hits including ‘Bigger Than the Beatles’ and ‘John Deere Green’. Tributes have been paid to the late Diffie by country stars including Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, Brad Paisley and Travis Tritt.

Singer and songwriter Alan Merrill, best remembered for co-writing the original ‘I Love Rock’n’Roll’, died over the weekend from Covid-19, aged 69. Artists including Meat Loaf and Joan Jett have paid tribute to the singer on social media.

The world of jazz has also lost some greats to coronavirus in recent days. Trumpeter Wallace Roney passed away on 31 March, aged 59. The Grammy-winning trumpeter played with the likes of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman.

Jazz pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis Jr lost his life on 1 April, aged 85, due to complications caused by coronavirus. Four of Marsalis’ six sons are also prominent musicians, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and saxophonist Branford Marsalis.

African jazz great Manu Dibango died on 24 March, from coronavirus, aged 86. The Cameroon-born saxophonist gained international fame with his 1972 song ‘Soul Makossa’.

 


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One killed in shooting outside Berlin’s Tempodrom

One has been killed and four others injured following a shooting outside Berlin music venue the Tempodrom, on Friday night (14 February).

The incident took place in the square in front of the 4,200-capacity venue around 11 p.m. on Friday, as a Turkish comedy show, Güldür Güldür, was taking place inside.

Berlin police posted the following statement: “According to initial findings, unknown assailants fired shots outside the building, causing one person to die and three others to be injured. The perpetrators are fleeing.”

It was later confirmed that a fourth person was injured.

Berlin’s public prosecutor’s office and the Berlin police are investigating the incident.

IQ has contacted the Tempodrom for comment.

 


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Two killed in Texas music venue shooting

Two people were killed and at least five injured in a shooting during a concert at the Ventura in San Antonio, Texas, on Sunday night (19 January).

Police were called to the music venue at 8 p.m. last night, after a gunman opened fire inside the club. According to San Antonio police chief William McManus, the shooting occurred after an argument broke out in bar.

The concert, dubbed ‘Living the Dream’, featured multiple emerging acts and local musicians including Jonathan Tyler, Hoax and MikeNo$leep.

The shooting prompted a mixed reaction on the venue’s Facebook page, with some users defending the bar as “an excellent spot for up-and-coming musicians” and stating that similar issues had never occurred before. Others criticised the venue for a perceived lack of security enforcement.

A police search for the gunman is ongoing.

 


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SFX Entertainment founder Robert Sillerman dies, 71

Robert FX Sillerman, the founder of SFX Entertainment, died of respiratory illness on Sunday (24 November), at the age of 71,  Billboard confirmed.

Sillerman first founded concert promoter SFX Entertainment in the 1990s, paving the way for the modern-day consolidation of the business by acquiring promotion companies including Delsener/Slater Enterprises, Sunshine Promotions, Bill Graham Presents, Cellar Door Concerts and Avalon Attractions.

The original iteration of SFX was sold to Clear Channel in 2000 for US$4.4 billion, and later spun off to become what is now known as Live Nation.

In 2012, Sillerman refounded the company as an electronic dance music (EDM) festival promoter, rolling up promoters including React Presents in the US and ID&T, Made Events and Alda Events in Europe, as well as Florida-based venue operator MMG Nightlife in the US.

SFX 2.0 filed for bankruptcy in early 2016, rebranding as LiveStyle under the leadership of Randy Phillips later that year.

Following SFX’s demise, Sillerman was embroiled in a number of lawsuits. In July, he paid $179,000 to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, in a fraud case relating to his post-SFX online publishing business Function(x).

 


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Fatal stampede causes chaos at Venezuelan concert

A free concert held at Caracas’ Francisco de Miranda park on Saturday (9 November) resulted in tragedy, as a stampede left up to three dead and dozens injured.

Police estimated that 8,000 people – the vast majority minors – arrived to see the concert by Venezuelan trap artist Neutro Shorty, real name Liomar Acosta.

According to many reports, three minors were killed in the stampede. Other sources put the death toll at one, whereas online Venezuela TV channel VPI TV reports that four were killed.

Fans attempted “to climb over the entry barriers, which gave way, causing the stampede,” Miguel Balza, the coordinator of civil protection in the metropolitan area of Caracas told reporters at the AFP.

Fans attempted “to climb over the entry barriers, which gave way, causing the stampede”

The concert was later moved to an adjacent park. Speaking from the stage, the trap artist announced: “I didn’t come here to lie to you, or to cause any trouble. I came here to sing, and for free. What is going on is no good. Kids are fainting. I feel sick when I see their faces. I don’t want this to carry on.”

An investigation has launched into the incident. Neither the concert organiser or park authorities have claimed responsibility for the stampede.

A barricade collapse caused non-fatal issues at another live music event over the weekend. Three fans were hospitalised after sustaining minor injuries when an entry barrier collapsed at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston on Saturday, prompting a stampede.

No serious injuries or fatalities were reported.

 


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Coroner: ‘inadequacies’ caused Radiohead drum tech death

An investigation has found that “inherent deficiencies” in design and construction led to the stage collapse that claimed the life of Radiohead drum technician Scott Johnson in 2012.

The conclusions of the inquest, which took place in Johnson’s hometown of Doncaster in the UK, come after those of a previous investigation in Toronto, where the fatal incident took place.

Johnson was killed when a stage roof collapsed before a Radiohead show at Downsview Park in Canada.

“Inadequate technical advice coupled with wholly inadequate construction techniques led to the collapse of the roof system which led to Scott Johnson’s death,” stated coroner Nicola Mundy at the UK inquest.

“It’s quite clear from what I have heard that the design and construction itself had inherent deficiencies within them”

“It’s quite clear from what I have heard that the design and construction itself had inherent deficiencies within them.”

Speaking at the inquest, Ken Johnson, the father of the drum technician, stated that the coroner’s comments were “exactly what we needed someone to say” and should enable an acknowledgement of the “negligence” that led to the fatal accident.

A previous Toronto-held inquest returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’ in April, a conclusion that Radiohead deemed “frustratingly insufficient” given that the collapse was “shown to be preventable”.

The Canadian inquest also resulted in a set of non-binding recommendations for improving safety at live events.

A court case brought against Live Nation, Optex Staging and stage engineer Domenic Cugliari was stayed in 2017.

 


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