Sugarland Unaware of Possible Delay at Indianapolis Concert, Jennifer Nettles Says

Newspaper Reveals Partial Transcript From Duo's Court-Ordered Depositions

Jennifer Nettles says Sugarland did not know about a conversation to delay their concert at the Indiana State Fair last summer, according to a story published Monday (April 16) on the Indianapolis Star ’s website.

Sugarland’s tour manager Helen Rollens allegedly had conversations with fair officials prior to the deadly storm, according to the story. The newspaper received a partial transcript of the deposition Nettles gave on Thursday (April 12), although the full transcript has not been made public.

The depositions stem from lawsuits filed on behalf of those killed or injured on Aug. 13, 2011, when high winds hit the outdoor grandstand area at the fair. Seven people were killed and dozens of others injured when part of the stage rigging fell into the audience prior to the band’s scheduled performance.

“I don’t feel it’s my responsibility or my management’s responsibility to evacuate the fans in the case of danger,” Nettles said in the deposition. “Do I care about their safety? Absolutely.”

Nettles also stated she and bandmate Kristian Bush would have delayed the show if they had been asked to do so. Bush’s deposition has not yet been made public.

As previously reported, the Indiana State Fair Commission has received reports from two companies hired to investigate why the stage rigging and scaffolding collapsed. The reports from Thornton Tomasetti (an engineering firm) and Witt Associates (emergency planning advisers) concluded the stage structure did not meet industry standards and a fully-developed emergency plan was not in place.

In a written statement provided to media in Charleston, W.Va., where the depositions were held, Nettles and Bush said, “In all the back-and-forth between the lawyers, the suggestion’s been made that we’ve somehow been trying to avoid having to answer questions about last summer’s terrible tragedy. This is simply not true.”