Almost 3 dozen charges laid in Alberta stage collapse that killed woman

EDMONTON – Almost three dozen charges have been laid after a stage collapse that killed a woman at a country music festival in Alberta two years ago.

Donna Moore, 35, was crushed by falling scaffolding when a fierce storm tore through the grounds at the Big Valley Jamboree near Camrose on Aug. 1, 2009. The single mother from Lloydminster, Alta., was sitting near the stage.

Another 75 people, including members of Hollywood actor Kevin Costner’s band, were injured.

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The 33 charges under provincial occupational health and safety legislation are against three companies involved in putting on the show.

Premier Global Production, which was responsible for the stage, and event organizer Panhandle Productions face a total of 27 charges. Most of them relate to failing to ensure the health and safety of workers. Premier faces two additional charges of failing to ensure that stage equipment and rigging could withstand any stresses it might face.

A contractor directing Premier’s activities also faces six charges of failing to ensure compliance under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

All three companies are due in Camrose provincial court Sept. 28.

The maximum penalty is $500,000 and/or six months in prison for each charge.

Panhandle Productions declined comment when contacted Friday. Premier Global and the contractor could not be reached.

A lawsuit on behalf of Moore’s sons, who are 10 and 16, was filed last week. It names the City of Camrose, the concert’s promoter, the company responsible for security and several companies that built the stage. None of the allegations has been proven in court.

This year’s jamboree with headliners Gary Allan, Jason Aldean and Toby Keith began Thursday. Barrie Harrison, a spokesman for occupational health and safety, said the site was inspected two days ago and everything appeared to be in compliance.

“We are hopeful that this will be nothing other than a good weekend for the Big Valley Jamboree,” he said.

Earlier this summer, three people were injured when an outdoor stage collapsed in Ottawa at the annual Bluesfest.