HEALTH & SAFETY
Live Concert Industry

The Grand Jury began its investigation on February 26th behind closed doors at a National Guard training center in East Greenwich to decide whether anyone should be held responsible for the fire and the deaths of 97 people in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Most of the first Grand Jury session was devoted to preliminary talks between prosecutors and lawyers for the rock band Great White whose guitarist, Ty Longley, died in the blaze.
The investigation will centre on the causes of the fire, Great White’s pyrotechnic display, the layout and construction of the nightclub and the use of inflammable soundproofing materials. There is also a dispute over whether Great White had permission to use pyrotechnics. The band has said it received approval to use special effects, but the two brothers who own the club have denied that they gave permission. Club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, along with band members, could be indicted on state charges of involuntary manslaughter or second-degree murder. It appears that the brothers who own the club were about to sell the business and the Derderians were scheduled to begin transferring the liquor license the day after the disaster.
See Pollstar Vol 23 issue 10 (March 10 2003) for more details.