Victims of the stage collapse at the 2011 Indiana State Fair had until August 1, 2012 to approve a proposed settlement involving the State of Indiana, the owner of the collapsed stage, and the stage’s manufacturer. The stage owner rejected the settlement plan after the deadline, saying not enough plaintiffs had agreed. The Indiana Legislature approved two separate settlement amounts for the victims, but the state has not disbursed the second set of funds while the other settlement negotiations were in progress. Without a settlement of the plaintiffs’ claims, some of the defendants may attempt to file cross-claims against the state.
The stage collapse occurred at about 8:46 p.m. on August 13, 2011, as the country music band Sugarland was preparing to perform on the fair’s main stage, known as the Grandstand Stage. High winds from a nearby thunderstorm caused stage rigging and scaffolding to fall onto a crowd of fans. Seven people were killed, and more than fifty were injured. The Indiana State Fair Commission contracts private companies for many of the fair’s services. A private contractor produced the Grandstand Stage performances, and other contractors handled stage construction, sound and lighting, and other technical functions. An investigation by two engineering firms retained by the state concluded that the state could have been better prepared, that public safety protocols at the fair were not clear, and communication between fair officials and contractors regarding weather conditions was not good.