Indiana State Fair organizers never want to relive August 13, 2011 -- the night the stage collapsed on dozens of Sugarland fans. "We are not going to ever put up another canopy over the grandstand stage, and so, that will eliminate the issue we had last year," says Andy Klotz, PR director for the Indiana State Fair.
This year organizers have moved all headlining concerts to Banker's Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis -- but it's not a permanent move. "In October we are going to begin a renovation of the Coliseum that's going to keep the entire outside of the building the same, but the entire inside of the building is going to be demolished and renovated and really brought up to speed," says Klotz.
In 2014 all headliner concerts will be moved into the renovated coliseum. "We're going to make it a modern, comfortable facility without making it a big attraction with sky boxes and luxury suites, but something that is a responsible renovation that people can enjoy for another 70 years," Klotz explained to Eyewitness News.
Evansville's Ford Center will be used as a model for the coliseum renovations. Fair representatives toured the arena last spring. Scott Schoenike, executive director of the Ford Center, says they were interested in the design and marketing structure.
"It's kind of a pat on the back for the way we've been running and when we go to other conventions and stuff people want to hear about the Ford Center and Evansville so that's definitely, for me you know, makes me feel proud," says Schoenike. He says fair officials were especially interested in the concession stands and the way the Ford Center operates them.
The state fair is also using Populous for the Coliseum renovations -- the same architect that designed the Ford Center. The renovations to Coliseum will cost $63 million -- a price tag state fair organizers say is well worth the safety that comes with it.