Stage collapse subdues but doesn't ruin Hazelnut Festival
Musician, sound technician 'going to be fine' after stage roof collapsed on them
Other than a scare early on during the Donald Hazelnut Festival when a stage roof collapse sent two people to the hospital, organizers labeled Saturday as a success, with record-breaking attendance and more amenities than ever.
The third annual festival started with the festivals largest-ever parade Saturday morning, followed by live music from Rob Rainwater Blues Band. During the opening act, the roof of the stage collapsed, pinning Rainwater and a sound technician from Backbeat Productions.
Both were rushed to the hospital and Rainwater was released that night, according to his Facebook page.
As of Sunday evening, Shawna Gentert, chairwoman of the Donald Hazelnut Festival, said the sound technician was still in the hospital for observation. However, she was able to report that there were no spinal or head injuries, nor broken bones, and it looks like he will be able to fully recover over time.
These guys are not just people we hired but theyre members of our community, Gentert pointed out. The most important thing is that theyre OK. Were extraordinarily relieved theyre not more serious.
She added that she was grateful for the speedy response of emergency personnel and spectators at the festival who jumped in to rescue the men from beneath the crumpled wooden structure. The cause of the collapse is still being investigated.
The rest of the main stage acts were canceled, but live music continued at Donald Tavern.
Rainwater, who is scheduled to be featured in Auroras Music in the Park concert series Wednesday, announced on Facebook Tuesday that he will still perform.
Gentert also mentioned that the festival insurance will cover medical expenses from the incident.
Apart from the stage roof collapsing, marketing manager Neil Strathdee said the event was a success, with higher attendance than even he anticipated.
A lot of people had been stuck inside with heat, and the cooler weather broke so I think people were just looking for an opportunity to get outside, he said.
He added that many food vendors ran out of food and had to go get more to appease the voracious crowds.
He was also upbeat about volunteer support, even though the festival could always use more.
Highlights of the festival include the unveiling of the citys firstmural, painted by North Marion High School students, as well as a car show with nearly 200 vehicles on display.
Volunteers are also still tallying up donations that will go toward two local food banks.
In planning next year, Strathdee said many of the successful features of this years festival, including the car show, are here to stay.
He did state that, once the festival organizers looks at how well it did financially, they would like to put money toward local projects.
Well take the money from this year and look for opportunities to improve the area, doing projects to put dollars back in the community, Strathdee said.