Sugarland’s Tour Manager Likely Saved the Band’s Lives
While Sugarland have said very little about the tragedy that canceled their show and killed five people at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday night, new details indicate the duo has a terrifying story to tell. The Associated Press reports that the band was preparing to walk onstage, before tour manager Hellen Rollens told them to wait a bit longer. A minute later, the stage and light rigging came crashing down.
"There was no running out anywhere," band manager Gail Gellman told the Associated Press on Monday. "No one knew what happened. It was just the moment when your eyes get big." Gellman was in Las Vegas at the time of the storm, but was able to share details of the story after speaking with the band and crew. "Everybody was standing in a prayer circle getting ready to go onstage, and Hellen, as she was walking down the ramp, the stage fell. So her decision to hold them for literally a minute saved every band member and crew's life."
As they heard and felt the stage toppling over, the band and crew hit the ground or took cover against a wall. Then everyone made their way to the tour bus. In a statement, Jennifer Nettles said she was moved by the heroism shown by fans who rushed to help after things had settled.
Concertgoer Allison Hoehn tells CNN she was one of those people. "We tried to get down to help, but no one was moving," she said. "The storm came on so fast and the stage just snapped like a toothpick."
The duo's Sunday show in Iowa was cancelled because they couldn't extract their gear from the wreckage until an investigation was finished. It sounds like Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush would have had a hard time performing anyway. Bush went home to be with his children, while Gellman said he met up with Nettles on Sunday.
"There are moments I can see great clarity in her eyes, and there are moments I can see her tears well up so much that I just don't know what to do," he said. "She's just processing and wants to encourage people to be together, to support each other."
According the their website, Sugarland's next scheduled show is on Thursday in Albuquerque, N.M.