Before Radiohead was set to play an outdoor concert at Toronto’s Downsview Park on Saturday (June 16), the band’s stage collapsed, killing the band’s drum technician and injuring three other crew members.
Now Radiohead has released a statement regarding the death of Scott Johnson, a U.K. man in his 30s and a drum tech to both Radiohead and British band Keane. He was reportedly trapped under rubble and pronounced dead at the collapse, the severity of which can be seen in this aerial video.
“We have all been shattered by the loss of Scott Johnson, our friend and colleague. He was a lovely man, always positive, supportive and funny; a highly skilled and valued member of our great road crew,” Radiohead drummer Philip Selway wrote on the band’s website. “We will miss him very much. Our thoughts and love are with Scott’s family and all those close to him.”
CNN reports that the stage’s scaffold-like roof fell from 50 feet overhead around 4 p.m. Saturday, at which point the sold-out crowd of roughly 40,000 was advised not to come to the venue for the 7:30 concert. The specific cause of the collapse is unknown – a matter that is currently under investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Labor, who are “investigating whether safety regulations and standards were followed and if staff were properly trained,” CBS News reports.
Only one of the crew members injured by the stage collapse has been hospitalized; according to Tony Vella, a spokesman for the Toronto police, the 45-year-old man’s head injury was improving. The two other crew injuries were treated on the scene.
Unlike a stage collapse at Sugarland’s Indiana State Fair concert last summer, which killed seven people and injured 40 after a powerful storm ripped down the scaffolding, the weather conditions were sunny and calm on Saturday at Toronto’s Downsview Park. In addition to the most recent collapse and the Sugarland tragedy, there have been a number of stage collapses in recent years that have killed and/or injured both fans and crew members. Last July, a stage collapse at Ottawa’s Bluesfest killed one and injured eight during Cheap Trick’s concert. Additionally, five concertgoers died when the stage toppled at Belgium’s Pukkelpop Festival last summer. The one factor that all of the previous stage collapses have in common is inclement weather, which was not a factor in Saturday’s stage incident.
– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local