Thursday, August 18, 2011

Strange Storms

Today there was yet another fatal concert stage collapse at the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium (while Chicago band Smith Westerns were performing), adding to the tragedy of last week's Indiana State Fair stage collapse that left five people dead. And this is on top of a Cheap Trick stage collapse and The Flaming Lips lighting rig falling down during storms (luckily no one was killed in either). Many are obviously questioning the structural integrity of these temporary stages, but what about the crazy weather? Of course summer is always filled with dangerous storms, but doesn't it seem like there's been a deluge of them this year? Maybe we just forget how bad it gets from year to year...Regardless, the question turns to how soon people should be evacuated in situations like this, but where is it safe to take cover at an open air festival where all the structures are temporary? This question did cross my mind a few weeks ago at Lollapalooza as I sat at a picnic table about 50 feet behind the main stage watching crews roll up the stage's back wall as the winds picked up and a storm rolled in.

Anyway, I don't have the answers, but I do have one way we can help out a Chicago landmark that was all but destroyed in a hail storm earlier this summer. Eric Mahle has organized a benefit tonight at Lincoln Hall to raise funds to restore the Garfield Park Conservatory after the hail shattered panes of the glass house, putting the many rare plants inside at risk. I've only been to the Conservatory once for a wedding a few years ago, but I will say I was in awe of it's beauty. Tonight we'll do good while having fun and watching live music, all the while thinking of those who lost loved ones in Indiana and Belgium doing the same.

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