I didn’t like it when Aerosmith’s lead rocker, Steven Tyler, was on American Idol. I like my rock icons to be other-wordly, to not play by the rules, to live life large with a damn-the-torpedoes attitude. Je ne sais quoi to the max. They’re expected to trash hotel rooms, be difficult and demanding backstage all while making millions upon millions of dollars. Turns out, Steven seems to be a pretty nice guy. The problem for me now, is that I can’t listen to an Aerosmith song without thinking of nice-guy Steven. It’s just not the same if there’s not a hint of out-of-control rock star.
And so when I read last week the alternative rock band, Linkin Park, is now a StormReady Supporter, my head almost spun. With Steven and Linkin Park acting so non-rock star-responsible lately, what could be next? [Insert crazy scenario here.]
But it’s true. Linkin Park is now officially recognized by the National Weather Service as the first rock band in the country to earn the designation StormReady Supporter. Not only that, but the band has also earned the distinction as the first traveling venue to meet the StormReady requirements.
What’s this mean to you? A safer concert-going experience, hopefully. Since Linkin Park will now be promoting such key StormReady concepts as severe weather awareness, preparedness and safety, the threat of being surprised by severe weather is mitigated. In turn, this means that fans, employees and band members should enjoy a safer concert experience inside and especially, outside.
Was the Sugarland concert stage collapse two years ago the root of the Linkin Park quest to become StormReady? Don’t know, but there’s a picture of the stage collapse in an interview with Linkin Park’s tour director on The Weather Network’s website discussing the new StormReady Supporter designation.
What happened? You can read my YourWeatherBlog response to the stage collapse here, but the short story is that concert authorities at the Indiana State Fair complex were caught unaware of the approaching weather or, if not actually unaware then they failed to act in the face of approaching weather. The end result is that the stage was blown over, hundreds were injured and five people died. To add insult to the situation — at least as far as I’m concerned —, then-governor Mitch Daniels stated: “It’s not clear to me at this stage how anyone could have foreseen a sudden, highly localized gust of wind in one place.” This, despite the fact that the National Weather Service issued warnings two hours prior.
It’s clear Linkin Park doesn’t want a similar situation at one of its concerts. It’s also clear that, at least for a moment, Linkin Park has stepped away from its other-worldly rock star status and have focused on how they can take responsibility for the safety of the people at their concerts. Concerts are a business and year after year it’s been proved that weather is the number one interruption to business. In fact, about 90% of all presidentially-declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in damage.* What’s surprising is that more bands haven’t already taken the steps to protect their business — and their fans. It’s 2013! The technology, the knowledge the experience are all there for the asking.
I’m not really disappointed when I hear nice-guy Steven singing an Aerosmith song, but I do think about him differently than I did before American Idol. But I’m certainly impressed now when I hear a Linkin Park song. I know that somewhere in that song, there’s a band who’s taking a step out of the ordinary to think about its fans and what they can do to make their concerts safer and more enjoyable.
* Statistic from StormReady.noaa.gov.