Settlement Reached in Sugarland Stage Collapse
Over three years have passed since a fierce storm barreled through the Indiana State Fairgrounds, ripping Sugarland’s stage apart and sending it crashing onto the assembled crowd. The tragedy killed seven people and injured nearly 100, but only now have the victims and their families finally received a settlement. The country duo, Live Nation and 16 other defendants agreed to pay $39 million to the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit that pointed to investigative reports that found failed safety standards and an insufficient emergency plan on behalf of the state fair.
Heartbreaking video captured the events that seemed to unfold in seconds, when high winds tore the stage roof from the rafters and toppled it to the ground before Sugarland’s set. In 2012, the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration found fault across the board, from the company that manufactured the stage, to the state fair and the union.
Neither Jennifer Nettles nor Kristian Bush have released a statement about the settlement, but Nettles did speak openly to ABC News about the event in an emotional 2011 interview. “There are no words for that kind of, of tragedy,” she told Robin Roberts. “And for the power of nature…we are forever connected to those people, because of the evening that we shared, and the moment that we shared, and the tragedy that we shared.” The duo returned to Indiana two months after the accident to play a free show for fans, which even included some of the injured — and denied direct responsibility in court testimony.
Unfortunately, stage accidents are not uncommon in the industry, although the Indiana tragedy did spur a closer look into concert conditions and regulations. Most recently, 16 people died in South Korea when a grate collapsed at K-pop group 4Minute’s October show.