Sunday, August 14, 2011

2011 Indiana State Fair Day Ten

Nora will use this blog to chronicle her daily adventures at the Indiana State Fair. 

There was no actual Day Ten of the Indiana State Fair, and rightly so. After the terrible tragedy of the accident on the Grandstand Stage last night, the folks at the State Fair decided to close the Fair for the day. And I'm glad they did. We all need time to digest the loss of five lives and the scores of others that are hurt. 

The rigging on the stage fell after a strong (60 mph) gust of wind caught the canopy. Four stagehands were on the structure at the time and countless other people were under, on, or near the stage. Click here for an account in the Indianapolis Star

I've leaned against that same stage dozens of times waiting for the music to start so I could snap photographs of the concert. 

In front of the Grandstand Stage waiting for the music to start last year. 

In this blog I've been concentrating on my agriculture background, but I got my writing chops by covering music for the last ten years. 

I typically write about the smaller shows; the ones that happen in living rooms and church basements and front porches and midsize venues.

I occasionally get to write and shoot photographs with the big name folks. I always appreciate the generosity of the Indiana State Fair media team in granting me a photo pass for the Grandstand shows. 

As is typical with most big acts, the photographers are allowed to the 'photo pit,' right in front of the stage, before the show starts. Traditionally you get to shoot the first three songs the band plays and then they hustle you out of the way. 

Between my love of music and the State Fair, some of my most satisfied moments have been standing in front of the Grandstand Stage. I remember being just giddy with excitement before the Rick Springfield show last year. 

It was a great feeling standing there, photographing one of my teen crushes, on the grounds of my beloved State Fair and getting to publish the photos for others to see. Doesn't get much better than that for this farm girl. 

I know that all of the folks that work in the business of live music have the same passion. Although the musicians are the main attraction, it literally takes a village to produce a show. There are the stagehands that construct the stage and backdrops and carry the gear, the sound technicians that make everything sound good in all corners of the room/stadium/outdoor venue, the lighting crews that climb up the rigging to make sure the lights hit the right spot every time, and the security people that make sure no one gets hurt during the show. And the fans. The people who love the music and everything that goes with it. 

As tragic as Saturday night was, it reminded me of why I love the State Fair and the people that attend it so. Hoosiers actually ran toward the stage and lifted trusses and carried people to safety. As Indiana's Governor Daniels reminded us, "There was a hero every ten feet on Saturday night." 

The Indiana State Fair will open tomorrow morning with a memorial service for those people caught up in the tragedy. 

Canceling the Fair today was the right thing to do. Yes, it was. 

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