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Cheap Trick Visit Congress to Lobby For Safer Stage Regulations

Jo Hale, Getty Images

Cheap Trick went to Capitol Hill on Oct. 3 in an effort to increase regulations on temporary stages after the band encountered a near death experience at the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest in Ontario this summer.

Guitarist Rick Nielsen and band manager Dave Frey spoke out for the band, urging lawmakers to consider new legislation. Their goal is to convince legislators that a standard certification process needs to be in place similar to the ones that elevators or ferris wheels at a carnival require.

Cheap Trick barely escaped tragedy while playing the Bluesfest when the roof collapsed on the main stage during their set on July 17. Thousands of people were in attendance, people were injured (including Cheap Trick’s driver) and the band’s equipment was destroyed but thankfully no one was killed. The incident was one of several recent concert tragedies that have artists and fans alike searching for solutions.

When the 50-ton roof crashed down on the temporary stage Nielson ran to the front. “I felt like I was in a Buster Keaton movie where the building falls down on him,” Nielson said Monday in an unexpectedly dramatic Future of Music Summit panel with the band’s manager, Dave Frey. “I ran forward looking for the equivalent of daylight” as the blackness descended, reported the Chicago Tribune.

According to a posting on the band’s official website, Cheap Trick wants the bands, crews and fans to be protected from this sort of disaster happening again. Though weather likely contributed to the incident, Cheap Trick expect answers and plan to press forward for a full accounting of what happened. They promise that going to Capitol Hill is the first of many steps to follow in ensuring that proper safety measures are taken at future concerts.

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