MONTEREY, Calif.- Even thousands of miles away and with stark differences, Monterey County fairground officials aren't taking any chances after two deadly stage collapses in less than a week.
The latest tragedy happened in Belgium where at least three people are dead and 40 injured after a stage collapsed at a music festival when strong winds knocked the stage over. On Saturday, a stage collapsed right before a Sugerland concert at the Indiana State Fair killing as least five people when a strong gust of wind sent the stage falling into the crowd.
The Monterey County fair is less than two weeks away and country music star Trace Adkins is holding a big concert Friday night. @
On Thursday, crews put the finishing touches on the stage at the fairgrounds. Local fair officials said they can't help thinking about those stages that have gone down, like Monterey County Fairgrounds CEO Kelly Violina. Violina said while a stage collapse is unlikely to happen here, the accidents are on their minds.
"There are a lot of differences with what happened in Indiana and on our stage," said Violina. "The Indiana stage is a temporary stage, and this is a permanent stage. Of course, weather related, we did want to take an extra look at what our stage engineering was in light of that fact."
Those checks, coupled with Trace Adkins' request for more stage lighting and a large video wall, caused fairgrounds officials to make safety changes to 50-year-old stage.
"You can see that David Drew Productions had some new brackets built and we re-engineered everything for the specs of our permanent stage," said Violina.
All in an effort to prevent another tragedy-- from happening close to home.
"We did want to check every single load bearing point on this stage to make sure it could contain more weight than what we are actually putting up there. We have over thought everything and it's definitely safe and ready to go."