Prayer Saved Sugarland From Indiana Stage Collapse

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

A spontaneous moment of prayer saved country pop act Sugarland from a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair August 13.

Right before the band was set to go on, stage manager Hellen Rollens suggested a prayer circle. While Sugarland was still circled up offstage, a 70 mph gust of wind from a coming storm caused the stage to collapse onto the crowd, killing five fans and injuring dozens more. The band managed to avoid the collapsing metal and were unharmed.

Gail Gellman, Sugarland’s manager, told the Associated Press, “Everybody was standing in a prayer circle getting ready to go onstage, and [as Rollens] 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.”

After the tragedy, the band’s Kristian Bush posted on Sugarland’s blog, “Our fans just came to see a show, and it ended in something terrible. My heart is totally broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives. It’s broken for all the people who got hurt, for the people who were scared,” he wrote. “I thank God for every person who lifted a truss, who pushed against that metal to get it off someone; for every person who used a chair as a stretcher. I thank God for every fan and emergency responder, for everyone who ran to the trouble instead of away from it. The courage of those men and women will forever be with me.”

Sugarland will continue with their Incredible Machine tour, though the set was destroyed by the weather. They canceled their Sunday show at the Iowa State Fair, but they will perform Thursday in Albuquerque, New Mexico as scheduled.

The band is also planning on a private memorial for the five fans killed in the incident, after families hold their own services for the victims.

“Until that time we are holding vigil for them,” the band wrote on their blog. “We join them on their mourning benches. And we stand in the gap asking God to offer them peace and healing. For those suffering from injury we hold you up with prayers for complete healing of your own.”

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