On June 16th, 2012, during the setup at Toronto’s Downsview Park for the final concert of Radiohead’s North American tour, the roof of the stage collapsed. The collapse caused the death of drum technician Scott Johnson and injured three members of Radiohead’s road crew. Johnson had a passion for drumming which stemmed from his teenage years.
Following the coroner’s autopsy in the death of Johnson, Radiohead is calling out parties involved to “publicly admit their part” in the incident and to apologize to Johnson’s family.
Check out the Twitter post below.
— Radiohead (@radiohead) November 5, 2019
Radiohead’s drummer Phillip Selway had this to say about the incident “In some ways, this is our last chance to comment on it. It has been a very long process — in particular for Scott’s parents, Ken and Sue — and I think it’s addressing our last feelings on what has happened.” Selway then adds “At the heart of it all, there is Scott, there’s Scott’s parents, who’ve lost their son, us as a band, and us as a wider kind of touring family, as well as with our crew, who’ve lost Scott. And actually having an honest response to that, it would mean just a huge amount,” Selway said. “It would feel as though it was honouring Scott’s memory.”
Selway hopes that the band’s statement prompts one last action.
On Twitter, Radiohead released a statement regarding the incident, they mentioned that Johnson’s father, Ken Johnson wanted those responsible to hold their hand up, admit responsibility, and to make sure it never happens to anyone else.
Initially, the three parties Live Nation, Optex Staging and the engineer who signed off the stage design were all charged with 13 offenses under Ontario’s provincial health and safety laws. However, the charges were stayed after two court cases failed to reach a verdict. The first trial was suspended and the second trial was thrown out. The head of Optex Staging, Dale Martin is the only person to admit fault in the collapse, while representatives for Live Nation and engineer Domenic Cugliari only mentioned regret about the tragedy.
In October, Nicola Mundy, the senior coroner for York District in the U.K., concluded that “inadequate technical advice on construction and design, coupled with inadequate construction techniques is what led to the collapse of the roof causing Johnson’s death.”
Ken Johnson mentions how he appreciates the efforts made by the band asking for a public apology and then says “I think that the responsibility lies with them, really — not with me. It doesn’t make any difference to us. It really is down to them, how they view these recent comments and whether they acknowledge them or not.”
Johnson said the conclusion of the coroner’s inquest was “comforting” and that he hopes it provokes action. He says “I do hope that it adds more weight to the parties to push forward the recommendations from the Canadian inquest.”