Sugarland Tour Manager, Hellen Rollens, appears to be the newest scapegoat in the stage collapse lawsuits, as attorneys in the depositions continued their investigation into the tragic collapse that claimed seven lives, including that of IATSE Local 30 member, Nathan Byrd. Dozens of others were injured and are also included in the suits.
At this point, almost everyone present has been blamed during the lawsuit proceedings, while fair officials themselves have been exempted by the State’s $5 Million liability limit. State officials voted in March to increase that by $6 Million, but clearly, there’s no end in sight to the finger pointing in order to settle the more than $50 Million in lawsuits filed shortly after the disaster.
Perhaps most unfortunate in the story is the scrutiny the band itself is under. Hellen Rollens, originally credited with saving the lives of the band while holding them backstage minutes before the rigging came down, has become a primary focus of the blame game, leaving the band to defend their decisions and their team in the deposition hearings.
Jennifer Nettles is quoted as saying, “I don’t feel it’s my responsibility or my management’s responsibility to evacuate the fans in case of danger. Do I care about their safety? Absolutely,” Nettles said. When asked if she blamed her fans for waiting so long, she responded, “No. Of course not.” Considerable fuss is being made that Rollens did have the “authority to cancel any Sugarland concert” but didn’t exercise it the day of the Indiana Fair show, and whether the band was actually informed by officials that a delay of the show had been requested.
Full story is here. More as the story develops…