by Clive Young.
New York (July 16, 2009)--No audio crewmembers were injured when a concert stage under-construction for a Madonna concert collapsed in France today. However, one French man was killed and six workers injured, with two--one American and one British--seriously injured.
The stage was intended for a show Sunday at the Stade Velodrome stadium in Marseille, as part of the current Sticky & Sweet world tour. No audio crew or equipment was on-site when the collapse took place, said Jack Boessneck, Executive Vice President, Eighth Day Sound (Highland Heights, OH), which is the audio provider for the tour. The show has since been cancelled.
"The production has two stages that leapfrog each other, so my guys were all at tonight's show in Udine, Italy," said Boessneck. "When it happened, everyone in Udine was informed immediately and told to call home so their families would know they were alright when they heard about it on the news."
The accident took place around 5:15 PM (GMT); according to French newspaper La Provence, one of four winches used to raise the 60-ton roof failed. The paper quoted a witness who said part of the stage was already built and the chain either released, or pillars supporting it were poorly attached, causing the roof to fall on the stage and lawn. The witness reported, "it fell like a house of cards." Reportedly 40 people were present when the pillars crumbled. According to the Agence-France Presse news agency, Marseille city councillor Maurice Di Nocera said "Fortunately, it didn't collapse too quickly, as there would have been quite a few victims."
Local officer David Goddin told CNN, "At this point, we don't know how it happened, but we are confident no one else is still under the rubble." Reportedly, more than two-dozen fire engines and 80 firefighters arrived at the scene. The sports venue typically doesn't host many concerts, but the production was to have been the third concert held there this summer, following AC/DC and Johnny Hallyday.
In a statement, Madonna said, "My prayers go out to those who were injured and their families along with my deepest sympathy to all those affected by this heartbreaking news." According to CNN, her representative, Liz Rosenberg, said the singer was "devastated."
Eighth Day Sound