Concert benefits stagehands hurt in stage collapse


INDIANAPOLIS - A benefit concert was held Sunday for three stagehands injured in the State Fair stage collapse. The money raised is going to a memorial fund to help the survivors.

They work in the cover of darkness, moving equipment out one door and bringing more in through another. They set the lights, they set the stage and if you are not paying attention, you might not even know they are there.

"Their courage to be here today, the three survivors that came down in that truss, those guys were in that thing and hit the ground with it and they are here today," said Randy "Ranch" Wurtz of 3:1, a band that played the concert.

The danger of the job became abundantly clear on the night of August 13, when a powerful storm rushed the stage at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Wind and rain slammed the stage truss into the ground. Sitting in the truss were stagehands that were quietly doing their job.

"A lot of us, if we get hurt, if something happens to us, the crowd goes home. We've got kids to feed, you know, all of us, the performers, the stagehands," said Wurtz.

For the survivors, the past couple of weeks have been tough they have been in the hospital and the bills have been pilling up. The concert and silent auction, according to organizers, will help make some of the ends meet.

"Their families have needs to pay the bills. All of these guys, a lot of them, are still getting medical treatment. Some of them are getting treatment in other ways, to help with care," Wurtz said.

"We know that there is settlement money coming down the road, but they've got bills to pay now," said stagehand David Thornton.

Stagehands are not on the stage for the glory - that is for others - the survivors attending Sunday's concert asked to not be interviewed. Taking center stage isn't why they are on stage, they are on stage for the music.

If you were unable to attend the concert but would like to donate to the fund, just specify "Local 30 Stagehands Memorial Fund" when making a donation at any Fifth-Third Bank.

Indiana State Fair Tragedy