Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles Says Duo Was Never Asked to Delay Show
“I don’t feel it’s my responsibility . . . to evacuate the fans in the case of danger,” says Jennifer.
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles has officially weighed in on last August's tragedy in Indianapolis during which seven Sugarland fans were killed. "I don't feel it's my responsibility or my management's responsibility to evacuate the fans in the case of danger," Jennifer said during a recent deposition regarding the stage collapse that occurred following strong gusts of wind. "Do I care about their safety? Absolutely."
The Indianapolis Star obtained partial transcripts of Jennifer's April 12 deposition regarding the collapse prior to Sugarland's concert at the Indiana State Fair on August 13, 2011. The Sugarland singer stated that she thought it was the fair's responsibility to take care of the fans' safety. Jennifer also revealed that conversations between Sugarland's tour manager, Hellen Rollens, and fair representatives regarding the worsening weather and officials' desire to postpone the concert were not communicated to the duo. She stated that they were never asked to delay the concert. Additionally, Jennifer said if they had been asked to delay the concert in Indiana, they probably would have. While the duo's attorneys said at one point that the victims could be partly responsible for their injuries because they chose not to evacuate as the storms increased, Jennifer said she did not know about the attorneys' response and gave her own opinion as to whether she blamed the fans. "No, of course not," Jennifer said during the deposition.
Jennifer also denied the statement from Indiana State Fair official Cindy Hoye, who said during an earlier deposition that tour manager Hellen Rollens did not want to delay the show as Jennifer had already warmed up and the band had a show the following day in Iowa. Jennifer acknowledged that Rollens was authorized to speak for the band, but said Rollens did not tell her of the conversations with the fair representatives. She also stated that she did not know how long the drive was to Iowa and said a warmup would not have prevented a delay. "I mean, my preference would be for everything to be fine and normal and safe and then the show would go on as expected," said Jennifer.
As previously reported, reports from experts point to improper rigging of the stage and inadequate preparations as factors in the stage collapse.