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Four sentenced over Madonna stage collapse

Four professionals including the former head of operations for Live Nation France have been sentenced, following the collapse of a stage in France in 2009 that killed two people.

Technicians had been setting up the stage at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille for a Madonna concert when the partially-built roof fell in, bringing down a crane.

Charles Criscenzo, a 52-year-old French worker, and Charles Prow, a 23-year-old Briton, were killed while eight other workers sustained injuries in the accident. One of the injured workers took his own life two years later.

Yesterday (17 February), the magistrates of the court of Marseille (south), where the concert was to be held in 2009, convicted four defendants of manslaughter and involuntary damages, and acquitted three other defendants.

Live Nation France was ordered to pay a €150,000 fine, and Tour Concept €50,000

After a decade-long investigation, Jacqueline Bitton, at the time head of the French operations for Live Nation, received the most severe sentence: a suspended two-year prison term and a fine of €20,000.

Tim Norman, head of the British firm Edwin Shirley Group (ESG) which owned the stage, received a suspended two-year term as well as a €15,000 fine.

A manager at a French subcontractor hired by ESG, Tour Concept France, was given a suspended 18-month sentence and a €10,000 fine, while a British foreman hired for the job by ESG got an 18-month suspended sentence.

Live Nation France was ordered to pay a €150,000 fine, and Tour Concept €50,000.

After the concert was cancelled, Madonna said she was “shocked” by what happened and sent her condolences to the families of the victims. She did not appear at the trial.

The 60,000-seater Velodrome is France’s second-biggest sports arena and home to the Olympique de Marseille football club.

 


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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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Music fans injured in screen, barricade collapses

Incidents at two separate live music events this weekend left around 50 fans injured.

Thirty people sustained injuries at a 20,000-capacity rap concert in Essen, Germany on Saturday night (31 August), when a large LED screen fell into the crowd. Police told reporters that two fans were left in a “critical condition” following the incident at the Marteria and Casper concert.

The concert was immediately cancelled and fans evacuated from the area of Seaside beach, Lake Baldeney. According to some reports, extreme weather contributed to the collapse.

The rappers later took to social media to thank “our crews, the emergency services and local authorities” for their professional response.

Incidents at two separate live music events this weekend left around 50 fans injured

In the United States, more than two dozen festivalgoers were injured at AEG-promoted Bumbershoot music festival at the Seattle Center. A steel barricade separating the crowd from the stage collapsed during a performance by DJ and producer Jai Wolf.

“Saturday night at Bumbershoot Festival there was a steel barricade failure that resulted in several non-life threatening injuries,” read a statement issued by festival organisers. “Those injured were handled by on-site medical teams and further treatment continued at an area hospital as deemed necessary.”

The show was rescheduled for the following evening, with entry granted to all those with Saturday Bumbershoot passes.

Tyler the Creator, Lizzo, the Lumineers and Her were among the acts to play at the three-day festival.

 


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300 injured in platform collapse at Spanish festival

More than 300 people have been injured after a wooden platform collapsed at O Marisquiño  festival in Spain. As reported by the BBC, five people have sustained serious injuries, though police have confirmed there has been no fatalities.

Witnesses to the incident reported scenes of panic as people fell on top of each other and struggled to free themselves from the wreckage. Due to the positioning of the platform, some victims were thrown into the sea as the structure collapsed. Emergency teams were called, with a specialist diving team equipped with thermal cameras also on the scene to ensure no one remained trapped underwater.

Jesus Vazquez Almuina, health minister for the region spoke to local radio about the extent of the injuries sustained in the accident. “The vast majority are light injuries for bruises. There are five hospitalisations, mainly broken bones and some head injuries.”

Present at the scene, bystander Aitana Alonso told local newspaper Faro de Vigo that the whole ordeal was a matter of seconds. “The floor went down like an elevator,” she recalls.

“The floor went down like an elevator”

“It broke and we all fell in. People were falling on me, I was having trouble getting out. I had people underneath, screaming that I could not get out, I was overwhelmed.

“There was a girl with blood on her head.”

O Marisquiño is a free festival which attracts some 160,000 people across its weekend programme each year. Among the crowd on Sunday night were a number of children and families. Faro de Vigo describes scenes of “children crying disconsolately” and “desperate parents looking for their children.”

Festivalgoers had been standing on the platform, watching Majorcan rapper Rels B perform on the closing night of the event. Local media reports that as the platform began to collapse, the rapper told the crowd to jump off of the structure. Following the event, he tweeted to victims, wishing them “strength” and imploring those still searching for missing relatives or friends to get in contact with emergency services set up by O Marisquiño.

The mayor of Vigo, Abel Caballero, has said there will be an investigation launched into the causes of the incident. It is not clear yet whether the collapse was the result of overcrowding or a structural problem with the platform itself.

 


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Brazilian DJ killed in festival stage collapse

A DJ has lost his life in a stage collapse at a Brazilian dance music festival.

Thirty-year-old Kaleb Freitas da Rosa (known as Kaleb) was performing at Atmosphere Festival in Esteio, near Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, yesterday, when the festival’s O Santuário stage collapsed on him amid heavy rain and gale-force (55kph/35mph) winds.

According to local media, Freitas, who suffered head injuries, died on arrival after being rushed to hospital.

Three other people, of an estimated 5,000 festivalgoers, were injured in the accident.

Several attendees posted footage of the stage collapse to social media:

According to Globo, while promoters had been warned of severe thunderstorms, the stage structure was designed to withstand winds of up to 80kph and the festival had all necessary permits.

In a statement, organisers paid tribute to Freitas, saying the Brazilian EDM scene had lost a “friend and an artist”, adding that they “value the safety of our audience” and always follows all regulations set down by local authorities.

 


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