If you didn't know, I worked for Live Nation at Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville, for four years. I worked in Merchandising, renting out Lawn Chairs, selling Blankets and ponchos, and selling ticket upgrades. This blog is not to say anything about the people that got injured or died in the State Fair Stage Collapse that happened on the evening on April the 13th. In fact, if my friends didn't happen to get married that day, said friends and we would have been at that concert! My heart's thoughts and prayers still go out to those people and those families that are still dealing with the happenings of that day.
I've experienced numerous storms at the venue in my four years working as an employee of Live Nation. I remember at Pearl Jam a couple years ago, the tornado sirens were going off on top of the main structure or the Pavilion. No body was moving! When I asked manager what was going on, she told me, the storm warning was for the other end of the county, to not worry! It wasn't raining. It was getting a little cloudy, but it didn't look that bad. I was having a small panic attack, because tornado sirens scare the crap out of me! That happens when you live in a trailer for the first eleven years of your life! That next gust of wind could be the one that blows your house down!
Then, there was the Eric Clapton concert a couple years ago. A HUGE electrical storm was coming in. Mr. Clapton was supposed to play until eleven o'clock. Storm warnings were starting to come. We were all radioed at our stations that Mr. Clapton and his camp had decided they would end early to get people out of the dangerous area. So, Clapton played until 10:30pm. He probably only got one "famous" or popular song in, which was "Beautiful Tonight." Then, he ended his set. People would not leave!!! I was in the Lawn chair "Shack" which is literally a shack on the hill. People kept coming in the shack. We told people, "Please LEAVE! Go to your cars! It's much safer there!" They wouldn't! It took us an extra hour to get people out of the venue that night!
This is when I came to the conclusion: Concert goers don't listen!
Maybe not all concert goers, but good bulks of them come to the shows and drink. They get billigerent. They don't listen to the people that work at the venues. We would say, "Please go to your cars! An electrical storm is coming, and your car is the safest place to be!" The concert goers would refuse and laugh in your face. This is when the job would become frustrating! Then, we would be called to our office to sit out the storm. A couple of my coworkers thought they were cool and would ignore our managers directions to come to the office. Those co-workers would let concert attendees hide in the lawn chair shack with them during the storm. I'm positive that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. What would they do if a strong wind came in and knocked that shack down? But like I said, these girls thought they were cool hanging out with those people in the shack. Another part of this is; sometimes, we would get radioed what was going to happen before it was announced. So, we would start instructing nearby concert goers on what we had been told by radio. They wouldn't listen. It's a lot quicker to radio an entire staff than getting to a stage to announce something.
VWMC was my fun summer job that made me a little extra cash. This year, I didn't even try to go back. Snotty twenty-somethings ruined the happy feelings I got from going to that job. On top of that, there were a lot of repeat concerts every year, and most of them were country!
When you work at an out door concert venue, there isn't a safe place during storms. All of the concerts at this venue were "Rain or Shine." I had been to one concert before I worked there that got rescheduled. That concert was a Christina Aguilera concert, and the reason it got cancelled was due to a report of a tornado touch down in a near by area! It did get rescheduled.
As a person who actually understands how venue management works, thanks to my degree program (Music Business with a focus in marketing and arts administration), it was really hard being low on the toadem pole, so to speak, and working with children that had no clue about life. They didn't care about the customers, and they didn't care how they acted in front of them. That became embarassing!
The first three years, I LOVED working at VWMC. I have no hard feelings against the venue or the management team. VWMC is ran like a well oiled machine. It has too be, since it can hold up to about 25,000 concert goers. That's a lot of people! Sometimes, those 25,000 people don't always cooperate!
I wasn't there and don't know what actually happened at the State Fair that night. I'm really sorry for those families and friends that have lost love ones. I know this was a shocking tragedy for all that were involved or even for many in the state of Indiana. I just hope and pray that eventually, those families who are still suffering get some resolve and/or closure in their lives. I know this can take many years for this to happen.