-Kevin Crider’s first hand account of the side stage collapse
My name is Kevin Crider. I play bass for a melodic, hard rock band named, The Cauze. We’ve been together for three years. In July of 2007, we played at an 80’s rock festival called, Rocklahoma that was held in Pryor, Oklahoma. (You can check it out at http://rocklahoma.com/ ) My band and I played in one of the three areas labeled, ‘Beer Tent.’ We were scheduled to play as the in-between act for the headliners. I must say, the gig was decent; however, it was not the exposure that we expected, having traveled so far to be at this particular venue.
Since then, we’ve had the opportunity of playing again at this year’s 2008 Rocklahoma. We noticed a big difference. This year featured two side stages built 300 yards apart with a main stage in the middle. My first impression was that the side stages seemed a bit over-kill. I couldn’t be too judgmental; after all, I was stoked to be playing on one!
The side stages were 60 ft. wide, by 30 ft. deep, by 5 ft. tall. There was a major P.A. system, which was fine. The over-kill part was 50 foot tall trusses with approximately a hundred lights mounted to it. In addition to that, there was a big black tarp that came to a point above the stage to shade the bands from the 105 degree heat. The Cauze, my band, played at 11:45 Saturday morning, day four of the five-day festival. We played a kick-ass set and the day was cruising along nicely.
Around 5:00 pm, grey clouds began to set in and the sun faded away. It was a nice change as far as the temperature was concerned, however, it made the humidity climb to about 90%. Next, the clouds turned black and large drops of water began to shoot down, ‘Blip, blop, bloop.’ Then it started pouring. I made my way back behind the side stage that we had played on earlier. There was a rubber, flea-market style tent that was held up by aluminum poles above us. By now, the equipment on stage was covered in tarps, except for the P.A. speakers and the lights mounted on the trusses 60 feet above the tent.
A monsoon was coming down, I mean, walls of water! Even the main stage was shut down during a performance by an 80’s band named, ‘Tryxter.’ It was eerie; all we could hear was the pounding of rain and the sound of people running for cover. There were twenty-five of us under this one tent. Then the wind picked up and the walls of the tent began flapping, expanding in and out. It sounded like the tent was going to blow away. I felt the need to say something, so I yelled out, ‘Man, we’re not in Seattle anymore!’ A few people laughed, nervously. Then the unthinkable occurred. I heard a guy belt, ‘Look out!’ I looked around as I heard the sound of metal bending. The whole stage was being blown down. Everything went into slow motion, here it came. I figured the lights were buckling and were going to come down everywhere. CRASH!!!
Yep, everything crashed to the ground. It turned out that both side stages fully collapsed. No one was seriously injured, thankfully. The rain saved us. Had it not been for the rain, the stages may not have been cleared. If there was wind alone, I may not have been here to write this account.
To see after-footage of the collapsed stages
Here you can watch the thirty-second video and you will see the red and white tent in the background that we all ran out of.
(Or click here for the direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ0VfOefCsw)