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Recalling extreme weather that caused a stage to collapse at a Sugarland concert

Saturday, August 13th 2022, 6:00 am - On this day in weather history, a stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Saturday, August 13, 2011, a stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed, killing seven people and injuring 58. A gust of wind associated with a severe thunderstorm caused the stage's temporary roof to collapse.

Throughout the day, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued thunderstorm warnings. State fair officials received several automated text messages about the imminent storm.

A Sugarland concert was scheduled to start at 8:45 p.m. At 8:00 p.m., Cindy Hoye, executive director at the Indiana State Fair Commission, led a meeting to discuss the severe weather warnings. The storm was forecasted to start in the area at 9:15 p.m. Hoye wanted to delay the show's start time until the storm had passed.

The message was given to Sugarland's managers, who said they'd prefer to start at the scheduled time. But the band's managers didn't know about the forecasted wind, hail, and lightning, just the rain.

Sara Bareilles opened the show and completed her set.

At 8:30 p.m., Hoye met up with State Police Captain Brad Weaver who expressed his concern about the nearing severe weather. He recommended that Hoye cancel the show. Weaver also advised that there should be a crowd evacuation plan in place. Hoye followed suit and directed her staff accordingly.

At 8:39 p.m., the NWS issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area, forecasting strong winds and large hail. Neither Hoye nor Weaver received the warning.

At 8:45 p.m., Hoye (via an announcer) told the audience that a storm was coming, but the show would go on. The announcer gave directions on how to evacuate to the area.

The show was set to go live at 8:50 p.m., but at 8:46 p.m., a gust of wind hit the stage and caused it to collapse.

An investigation of the incident showed that the concrete barriers used as anchors for tension cables were not fixed in place.

To learn more about the Indiana State Fair stage collapse, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Wikipedia

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