Coachella worker dies after fall at festival site

UPDATED: A worker died Saturday morning after falling in the staging area at the site of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio police confirmed to the Palm Springs area publication the Desert Sun. The worker’s identity had not been announced at press time, but in a statement the festival identified him as the lead rigger and a 20-year veteran of the festival.

Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron told the paper a worker in the staging area of the Empire Club Polo grounds had fallen and died at the scene. In a tweet, Cal Fire reported a “traumatic injury” and said a person “fell from a roof and perished at the scene” near Avenue 50 and Monroe Street. Guitron said officers received a call around 9:30 a.m. Saturday local time about an accident at the site. He added that the incident has been reported to the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

A rep sent Variety the following statement early Saturday evening, attributed to the festival: “Today, Goldenvoice lost a colleague, a friend, a family member. Our friend fell while working on a festival stage. It is with heavy hearts and tremendous difficulty that we confirm his passing. He has been with our team for twenty years in the desert and was doing what he loved. He was a hard-working and loving person that cared deeply about his team. As our lead rigger, he was responsible for the countless incredible shows that have been put on at the festival. We will miss him dearly.”

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The festival will take place at the Empire Polo Club grounds next weekend and the weekend of April 19-21.

According to a report in TMZ, an eyewitness said the worker, who was not wearing a safety harness, was climbing the stage scaffolding and fell about 60 feet.

The most recent death connected with the festival occurred In 2014, when a woman collapsed during the festival and later died at a local hospital.

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