How Safe Are Stages At Tulsa State Fair?

Tuesday, September 27th 2011, 3:54 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- With the Tulsa State Fair starting Thursday, crews are putting together the main stage where about a dozen bands will perform and thousands of fans will gather.

Just a month ago, a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair, killing seven people and injuring 40 more.

So safety is on the minds of many people as the Tulsa State Fair nears.

"Frightening. Terrible. Just such a tragedy - I think possibly the worst tragedy we've had in the business," said Dave Snowden of Triangle Talent.

This is the 23rd year Dave Snowden has booked talent for the Tulsa State Fair. He says fairgoers should be reassured about the safety of the stage going up in Tulsa.

"The stage here has absolutely no similarities whatsoever," Snowden said. "Because this is a hydraulic stage, it comes in a 53-foot trailer, folds out. It's all made of steel, totally different setup completely."

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First, the Indiana stage was a more conventional type stage setup, built mostly with scaffolding, and it had a much larger roof.

"Just from looking at the videos, I think they created enough wind lift to lose contact with earth, and that's what started the process of the collapse," said Jay Waller.

Waller is with Stage Pro, the company hired by the Tulsa State Fair to provide and assemble the stage. He says this one is much smaller than the one in Indiana. Plus it will carry much less weight on top, and it has a very heavy base.

"The single biggest difference between this product when compared to the conventional ones is that this is a 58,000-pound trailer, so the idea that the roof part can make it turn over - it's impossible because of the weight in the base," he said.

The Tulsa State Fair did double check engineering prints and insurance of Stage Pro as a precaution. After the tragedy in Indiana, some fairs are now requiring extra guy wires on the more traditional scaffold type stages.