Radiohead Stage Collapse

While an investigation into a June 16 stage collapse at Toronto’s Downsview Park prior to a Radiohead show continues, sources have indicated the stage structure was supplied by Toronto-based Optex Staging & Services.

Photo: AP Photo
Emergency personnel work at the scene of a collapsed stage at Downsview Park in Toronto.

A stage in Toronto’s Downsview Park, set for a Radiohead concert, collapses hours before the show June 16.

The same stage, or one very similar, is pictured on the company’s website. When contacted by Pollstar, an Optex representative denied any knowledge of the event and refused to comment further.

Authorities said Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson, 33, of Doncaster, England, was killed and another crewmember hospitalized with a non-life-threatening injury after the outdoor stage roof collapsed at 4 p.m. while crews were setting up for a concert. Two other people were injured and treated at the site.

In a statement on its website, Radiohead said the band was “shattered” by the loss of Johnson.

“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,” the statement said.

Photo: AP Photo
Photo shows stage before it collapsed at the site for a Radiohead concert at Downsview Park in Toronto.

Paramedics and firemen used inflatable airbags to lift the twisted wreckage to get to Johnson. He was pronounced dead at the scene of “heavy crushing injuries,” according to police.

The Live Nation-produced show was immediately canceled before admission gates were to be opened at 5 p.m. A crowd of around 40,000 was expected for the 7:30 p.m., sold-out show.

Live Nation spokeswoman Liz Morentin called the incident a “serious and tragic accident.”

“This accident is being investigated but we do not have any further details at this time,” she said via email. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Johnson’s family and friends and to the Radiohead family.”

At the time of the collapse, the portable stage roof had already been raised into position with its full compliment of lighting gear. The band was only moments from taking the stage for soundcheck when the center section of the roof collapsed onto the deck without warning. It appears both of the front roof support connections failed. The sound arrays, which were suspended from other scaffolding on either side of the stage roof, did not fall.

Toronto was experiencing sunshine and blue skies when the stage failed, making weather an unlikely factor in the accident.

During a press conference following the incident, Toronto Police constable Tony Bella told reporters authorities plan to work closely with the Ministry of Labour to determine “exactly how that stage came down,” according to CTV News.

Photo: AP Photo
Collapsed stage at the site for a Radiohead concert at Downsview Park in Toronto.

The Ministry of Labour began surveying the wreckage June 17 and has asked Live Nation, Optex, Nasco Staffing Solutions and Ticker Tape Touring to comply with the ongoing investigation to help determine who owned, operated and set up the stage, according to the Toronto Star.

Toronto was the last date on Radiohead’s North American tour. The band’s next scheduled date is June 30 in Rome.