They call on event organisers to do more to protect crew and crowds after narrowly escaping death in stage collapse

Seconds away: Cheap Trick moments before they abandoned the stage

Cheap Trick have called for outdoor concert organisers to guarantee they’re doing more to protect band and fans after their near-death experience at the Ottawa Bluesfest earlier this month.

They were performing on the main stage on the final day of the two-week event when a freak storm arrived over the festival site. They abandoned their set mid-song and were only half-way down the stage steps when a powerful gust of wind brought the roof, awning and lighting rig down around them.

Frontman Robin Zander revealed they only survived because their equipment truck had broken the construction’s fall and left them a five-foot gap through which they escaped. Their truck driver was the only person seriously injured in the incident, sustaining a broken pelvis and pierced abdomen.

Now manager Dave Frey has demanded event organisers learn lessons to avoid a more tragic similar event taking place.

He says: “While honoured by the concern and support expressed for their wellbeing, Cheap Trick is interested in ensuring no other band experiences the same potentially lethal hazard.

“We simply want to know: what are organisers doing to protect the next act and the next audience? Everyone ought to be asking the same question when attending an outside event.

“The multi-ton stage roof fall must be properly explained – especially when nearby tends and other structured were untouched. Was it a design flaw? Was it an implementation mistake? These important questions must be answered.”

The band say they’ll “continue pressing for a full account of what happened” and they remain “dedicated to ensuring proper safety measures are taken.”

Official investigation of the incident are still being carried out, by representatives of the Ontario government and also by independent observers. Early speculation suggested an unusually strong gust of wind had made the stage canopy act like a sail, which pulled the structure apart and forced its collapse.

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