FRONT of HOUSE — July 2012
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Scott Johnson, Radiohead Drum Tech, Dies After Partial Stage Collapse in Toronto

TORONTO — Staging elements for a June 16 Radiohead concert at Downsview Park partially collapsed, with falling structural elements pinning and killing drum tech Scott Johnson, 33, at the scene. Another crew member was hospitalized with a non-life-threatening head injury, and two others were treated at the scene.

Although the structure had apparently been checked out by an engineer and approved for use, according to published reports, the stage’s elements collapsed about 4pm, an hour before show-goers were set to be admitted to the 7:30 pm show.

Along with the announcement that the concert was cancelled and instructions for refunds, the British band posted a tribute to Johnson, also from the U.K.

“We have all been shattered by the loss of Scott Johnson, our friend and colleague. He was a lovely man, always positive, supportive and funny; a highly skilled and valued member of our great road crew. We will miss him very much. Our thoughts and love are with Scott’s family and all those close to him.”

Investigators from Ontario’s Ministry of Labor have been inspecting the partially-collapsed staging structure, looking for what went wrong. The three inspectors and two engineers are reportedly proceeding with caution, as the structure has been deemed unstable.

Labor Ministry officials have requested documents from Live Nation, the concert organizer, along with Optex Staging and Services, Nasco Staffing Solutions and Ticker Tape Touring LLP, a company owned by Radiohead, according to published reports.

Some 40,000 people were expected to attend the sold-out show, featuring Canadabased Caribou as the opening act. The weather — sunny, with light breezes — did not appear to be a factor in the collapse.

Radiohead has announced the postponement of seven shows that had been scheduled in Europe from June 30 (in Rome) through July 9 (in Switzerland). The tour is expected to resume July 10 in the south of France.

In a statement, the band noted that, along with “the grief and shock ensuing from this terrible accident,” there were “practical considerations to deal with...The collapse also destroyed the light show; this show was unique and will take many weeks to replace. The collapse also caused serious damage to our backline, some elements of which are decades old and therefore hard to replace.”
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