City moves to ensure stage safety

The State Fair tragedy forced the city to revisit rules on stages.
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INDIANAPOLIS - The fatal State Fair stage collapse is already making other Indy venues safer.

Georgia Street will become a Super Bowl village. In the shadow of Lucas Oil stadium, tens of thousands will visit free concerts and other events there on a very big stage.

But just months after the fatal State Fair stage rigging collapse, both big and smaller stages are getting the city's attention.

Adam Collins with the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement told us "(We) really hold the applicant event sponsor accountable to make sure that tent's being evacuated if there is a serious wind gust or wind activity in the area. "Event sponsors must now have a designated person reachable 24-hours a day ready to make the call to evacuate.

The State Fair was criticized for waiting too long to order evacuations. That's under investigation.

RibFest, one month after the State Fair, tested the city's other new requirement. Collins said "the stage there was rated to a wind factor of about 30." The new rule now says when winds reach 75 percent of that wind rating the tent or stage must be evacuated.

So when winds neared 23mph the 30 mile-an-hour wind rated tent was cleared to a safe zone. "We evacuate to an area one-and-a-half times the size of the structure," said Collins. So if a stage is 50 feet tall, people must now evacuate at least 75 feet away so they're not hit by debris.

Collins says it's just a matter of safety."Really, what we're trying to do is make sure the event sponsors are thinking of those kinds of things and ultimately are held accountable to their guests to make sure they follow through," he said.

People we talked to said they welcome the new rules.