Bluesfest Sued Over Collapse

Ottawa Bluesfest in Ontario is facing a $1 million lawsuit from Cheap Trick claiming the fest scrimped on safety measures before a stage collapse during the band’s set two years ago.

The 29-count suit, filed by Cheap Trick Touring Inc., alleges the fest was negligent in failing to have an environmental warning system in place and failing to ensure the stage was safe and secure before the show, according to court documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

Cheap Trick’s filing also claims Bluesfest didn’t have properly trained and qualified staff on hand and responded to severe weather in an “unsuitable, haphazard and inadequate manner,” which “heightened the risk and increased the vulnerability to visitors, including Cheap Trick Touring.”

A likely point of contention in the suit centers on the stage’s wind walls, which Cheap Trick alleges were secured using cable ties rather than zip ties or bungee cords, the Citizen reported.

Because of this, the walls were “permanently attached” and could not be cut with a knife during the wind storm at Bluesfest, the suit says. The band is reportedly seeking $400,000 in damages to repair and replace equipment and $600,000 in special damages for interim replacement equipment, labor and travel. Staging company Groupe Berger/Mega Stage, and lighting company Project X Productions have also been named as parties in the case.

While Bluesfest intends to defend itself against the suit, the Citizen said, the other parties had yet to respond.