For a recent Tennessee country music festival, Producer Davidson used a self- contained, fold-out mobile 40'x40' stage with suspended sound, lights and roof provided by Allstar Audio from Florida. "The entire setup was $32,000. and it was all set up inside of one day. When the show was over, the stage packed up into the trailer and was gone by the night after."
Davidson's Stage Manager Florida based Don Barnard, said "I've been talking a lot with some structural engineers regarding these stages that are coming down. It is mostly unanimous that at some time, there will be a uniform certification process for "on-site" built stages that will probably cause havoc in the industry.
"It all depends on what these event insurance companies decide to require and who will be responsible for inspection. This may raise the price of staging quite a bit, but stages that are of the "trailer type", like we had at your event, are completely certified from the factory and OSHA approved in all 50 States and Canada. Guess what we're using from now on?" Davidson said.
This discussion took place last year after the judge in Indiana seized the stage structure that came down for a complete inspection to determine liability. Davidson nor Barnard were not involved with any of the fallen structures, but agree that event producers everywhere need to pay far more attention to the cost/ structural factor and realize no savings are worth a life. More scrutiny is now needed before set-up.
"Taking advantage of free, modern tracking technology and keeping an eye on weather radar showing impending weather fronts, and staying in touch with NOAA is the prudent thing to do", Davidson said.
"Lowering the stage roof as soon as winds pick up to a speed pre-determined by the stage people, and getting the audience away from the stage, is about the best and fastest way to alleviate a disaster", Davidson said and added, "freak 60 mph winds are hard to spot and are just that, statistically rare so the promoter ultimately needs to have a better situational awareness. Better than before. Just tethering vertical trusses down with steel cable to cement bases is not necessarily the answer if you have a 50' high roof with 10 tons of sound and lights hanging from it."
Hal Davidson has promoted for almost 4 decades, is a concert and festival consultant and authors HOW NOT TO PROMOTE CONCERTS & MUSIC FESTIVALS available online at concert-promotions.com. This release is copyrighted, 2011.