Entertainment industry leaders from around the globe will gather in Indianapolis on Monday to try to improve security at live events in the wake of tragedies like the deadly Indiana State Fair stage collapse.
Jim Digby is production manager for the band Linkin and said the spotlight on his number one priority has never been brighter.
"I'm doing everything I can to keep safety in the forefront of the discussion about any show that I'm doing," Digby said.
The deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair was among several tragedies last year that sent that safety message to the forefront of the concert industry. Digby said everything from the line of communication during events to the artists contracts have now changed because of it.
"The (contract) language prior to Indiana may have said, and may still say in some contracts, you know, 'a reasonably secure structure' or 'a reasonably safe structure,’” Digby said. “Well, that's not enough definition anymore."
Digby is co-founder of the Event Safety Alliance, which has compiled information about outdoor event disasters and event safety advancements on its website www.eventsafetyalliance.com.
On Monday, industry leaders will gather in Indianapolis to discuss how they can learn from what happened last summer.
"It's a horrible tragedy that occurred, but hopefully out of it will come some good that will avoid us having to go down this road again," Digby said.
There were other concert tragedies last year, including one that injured several people in Ottawa, Canada, and a deadly collapse in Belgium. Yet Digby says they have learned the most from what happened in Indiana. He credits Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and the rest of the state leaders for spurring a detailed investigation into the decision making and structural integrity of the stage.
"To get the forensic science out on what has happened here is a major benefit to all of us in the industry,” Digby said. “So that we can have reference to a review from the outside world about what's happening inside our world."
Digby says one of his first goals is to adopt a U.S. version of the Event Safety Guide, or ‘purple guide’, a manual used in the U.K. which includes best practices for stage safety and disaster planning, and communication among musicians, event planners, contractors and public safety officials.
"I think the idea of having everybody working from the same playbook is obviously a good one," Digby said.
You can download a copy of the Event Safety Guide here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg195.pdf