With a quick groan and a snap, the roof caved in just after 4pm ET at Downsview Park in Toronto.
The rigging holding up the roof of a massive stage with its lights and screens fell more than fifty feet to the stage below. It took just a few seconds.
One 30 year-old man died at the scene. A 45 year-old man was taken to hospital with a serious but non life-threatening head injury. Two others were also hurt but were treated by paramedics and released. No names have been released.
It could have been much worse. Witnesses say there were between 10 and 15 crewmembers working on the stage when the collapse occurred.
Musical gear had already been set up and is presumed to be destroyed or damaged. Apparently, neither Radiohead nor opening act Caribou had soundchecked yet. With the gates scheduled to open at 5pm, those soundchecks might have been imminent when the stage collapsed.
The sky was clear and winds were light. It had promised to be a beautiful night for an outdoor concert for some 40,000 people.
Downsview Park was evacuated and cordoned off. It's now a crime scene.
In a strange bit of coincidence, today (June 16) is the 15th anniversary of the release of OK Computer. No jokes, about "karma police," please. Karma has nothing to do with this tragedy.
After last summer's stage collapses (Ottawa Bluesfest, Pukkelpop in Belgium and the Sugarland show in Indianapolis), the last thing the concert industry needed was another disaster like this. We were told that construction would be strictly supervised and that the highest standards of safety would be upheld. Yet here we are again--and this time, the weather cannot be blamed.
(Good for the people at last weekend's Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas who shut down the show when the weather turned ugly. Nothing happened and no one was hurt.)
This doesn't look good for Downsview Park, a place that's been trying to remake itself as a festival site. With several more shows scheduled for this summer (including a gig featuring Foster the People and Tokyo Police Club this coming Tuesday) , you have to wonder what will become of them.
I'd expect many of those 40,000 people to head downtown to see the free show with the Flaming Lips in Yonge-Dundas Square. Wayne Coyne tweeted an invitation for all to drop in.
There were also rumours of a secret Radiohead show at a club sometime tonight. If that was going to happen, I doubt that it will now.
This was to be the last show in North America for Radiohead which means the Toronto show is cancelled. Not postponed, but cancelled. Radiohead is scheduled to start a European tour in Florence, Italy, on July 1. After that, it's off to Taiwan and Japan.
In case of amazingly bad timing, Live Nation, the show's promoters, sent out an obviously pre-scheduled tweet half an hour after the roof fell in--even after they tweeted about the show's cancellation. (Can't be too harsh on them. They had plenty of things on their mind and much more important things to do than unschedule tweets.)
Condolences to the family of the killed and injured. When a band statement comes, it'll most likely show up here.
The dead man and the injured members of the crew were not part of International Alliance Theatrical Stage Employees Local 58. It's unclear who they were working for. Police are asking for witnesses to come forward.
It's now confirmed that the person killed in the stage collapse was Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson.