Sugarland: 'we are all changed' by stage collapse
Sugarland members Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush performed a free concert in Indianapolis on October 28, in honor of the seven fans who died after a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis on August 13, where the band was set to perform.
The 2 1/2 hour concert was held at the Conesco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and Nettles opened the event with an emotional speech.
"Obviously we are here in October - we were supposed to do this show in August. Obviously, the stage is different, you are different and we are different. We are all changed by what happened then," Nettles told the audience, the Associated Press reported. "But we are going to try to give you the best show that we can and to celebrate healing with you and to celebrate life and music with you here tonight."
The concert served as the final stop on Sugarland's 2011 Incredible Machine Tour. The band also collected donations at the concert for the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund that has already raised nearly $1 million, in memory of those who were killed or injured in the stage collapse.
Indiana-based musician Corey Cox and actress Rita Wilson performed before Sugarland took the stage. At the end of the performance, Nettles walked through the audience holding up a flag emblazoned with the word "Heal."
In a letter posted on the group's official website after the accident, the band said, "We have taken a couple of days to try and even begin to emotionally process the magnitude and gravity of the tragedy in Indiana on Saturday. While the path to healing from this type of trauma and loss is long and winding, we wanted to reach out and update you on where we are and how we are."
Strong winds estimated at between 60 and 70 mph blew over the stage at the fair as fans were waiting for Sugarland to perform. In addition to the seven deaths, more than four dozen were injured.
"For those suffering from injury we hold you up with prayers for complete healing of your own," the band said in their statement. The Grammy Award-winning duo is known for hits like "All I Want to Do," "Already Gone," "Want To" and "Settlin'."
The show's opening act, singer Sarah Bareilles released a statement about the incident in August. "The accident at the Indiana State Fair felt like a bad dream," the singer said in a statement. "The weather changed in a matter of minutes and the stage collapsed in a matter of seconds."
"We are shocked and saddened by this horribly tragic circumstance and we are all praying for those affected. The emergency response was incredibly speedy and the people of Indiana as well as the crews from the show were beyond brave and working hard to help each other," she said in the statement. "My heart aches for the lives lost or injured as well as their families. We will do whatever we possibly can to help heal the hurt from this very sad day."
See video of the stage collapse below.