Live Nation Charged in Radiohead Stage Collapse

The Toronto concert promoter faces eight counts under a provincial act after the June 2012 workplace mishap led to the death of the band's drum technician, Scott Johnson.

TORONTO -- The Ontario Ministry of Labor has laid charges after last year’s Radiohead concert stage collapse in Toronto that led to the death of the band's drum technician, Scott Johnson, and injuries to three other crew members.

Eight charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were laid against Live Nation Canada, the concert’s producer, and Live Nation Ontario Concerts GP, with the rest being laid against Toronto-based Optex Staging and Services and an individual engineer, the Toronto Star newspaper reported Friday.

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Live Nation in a statement expressed strong opposition to the charges, and said it will “vigorously defend” itself.

“We absolutely maintain that Live Nation and our employees did everything possible to ensure the safety of anyone who was on or near the stage involved in the tragic incident that led to the unfortunate death of Mr. Scott Johnson,” the concert promoter said.

The charges follow provincial authorities probing the workplace mishap at Downsview Park on June 16, 2012, before a Radiohead concert got under way.

No Radiohead band members were caught up in the stage collapse, which occurred as around two dozen crew members were setting up the massive stage.

The government ministry cited Live Nation for failing to comply with provisions of the provincial act that require a building or structure to support “any loads that may be applied to it."

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Live Nation, in its statement said it started the 2013 concert season with a new staging contractor, and will remain “vigilant” in its staging and security procedures.

Those charged are set to make their first appearance at the Ontario Court of Justice on June 27.

Shirley Halperin in Los Angeles contributed to this report.