OTTAWA, Ontario (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Cheap Trick has filed a lawsuit against the Ottawa Bluesfest, seeking $1 million in damages for a 2011 stage collapse that forced the band to flee the stage and destroyed a significant portion of their gear. Part of the festival's main stage collapsed during a windstorm and the band is now accusing the festival of "putting economic considerations over safety."
Cheap Trick was performing during the evening of July 17, 2011 when the wind storm hit, with gusts that topped 73mph. Struts supporting stage elements buckled in the face of the strong winds, leaving three people requiring hospital care, including roadie Sandy Sanderson, who has already filed his own lawsuit against the festival, alleging negligence.
"It was like the Titanic or something," Cheap Tricks' manager, Dave Frey, told Rolling Stone. "It was complete pandemonium."
A report on the accident from the Ontario ministry of labour found that although the staging used by the festival was rated for winds up to 120mph, that festival organizers neglected to remove wind walls on the stage, resulting in "heightened the risk and increased the vulnerability to visitors, including Cheap Trick Touring".
Bluesfest festival director Mark Monahan said to reporters in 2011 following the incident: "What we've been told at the weather office and so on was that it was a very unusual situation. I mean the fact that it brought that stage down and nothing else in the park was just a freak situation.
"The stage is put up according to specs and there is an engineer who inspects the stage. That's all I can really say, and that was done again this year." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers