Back in August, seven people were killed when heavy winds caused the Indiana State Fair stage collapsed right before Sugarland was set to perform. Sixty-three of sixty-five claimants then proceeded to file a class-action lawsuit. Recently, Helen Rollens, Sugarland tour manager, has been investigated over her role in the stage collapse.
According to Rolling Stone, when state fair representatives were concerned about the weather, Rollens told them, “It’s only rain. We can play.” Nonetheless, Sugarland spokesperson Allan Mayer claims that the group was never asked to delay the performance. The investigations are still placing partial blame on the state fair, but the new reports on Rollens could impact the lawsuit that took place last November.
Rollen’s attorney, Kenneth J. Allen, spoke on her behalf:
“I think the plot will thicken on the part of Hellen Rollens, but I think at the end of the day, she’s an employee. The band had the ultimate authority to say we’re not performing, and Kristian Bush admitted as much.”
When Sugarland singer, Jennifer Nettles, was asked if she felt responsible for the casualties, she responded:
“I don’t feel it’s my responsibility or my management’s responsibility to evacuate the fans in case of danger. Do I care about their safety? Absolutely.”
In December, the state of Indiana awarded the claimants $5 million in compensation, but these new reports may impact that outcome.