Sa, 2.12.2023

Stage builder: absolute anarchy allowed

Oliver Kund
, reporter
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Photo: Erakogu

The total lack of rules in Estonia allows any ignoramus to be in the business of creating contraptions as platforms for public events, says Event Center project manager Margus Jaago operating here and in Finland. 

- At public events in Estonia, one will see stages…

I’d rather not see them. Whoever has his brains left, we have been discussing it’s just a matter of time basically.

- The first casualty?


- Would you compare the situation in Estonia and Finland.

Basically, in Estonia it’s like any business that has a piece of truss (metal girder – O. K.) comes up with some structure, puts it together and calls it stage.

When in Finland I set up a stage a day before, next morning a public council is gathered on the scene with rescue board, police and labour safety experts included. They check all certificates, load bearing and weight points of platform. During the event, I need to have an individual who knows how to act in various situations.

For instance, we use autonomous weather stations. Producer of platforms has prescribed requirements stating from which weather conditions we need to react – take people off the stage, lower roof or walls. In Estonia, this is absolutely not so. Here, let’s say, is total anarchy.

- Probably, many think «what might happen with a stage»?

Sadly, lots of builders think the same. While neglecting what a sail area it is. That’s just like the Tartu trampoline tragedy – if some whirlwind enters a stage, without weights it will fly. Nothing stopping it. As metal breaks, shards fly like bullets.

- What are the grossest safety rules violations you have seen in Estonia?

Mainly the use of details not prescribed for the purpose. Just improvising.

Secondly, when platforms are not secured with weights. And if they use weights, they use them wrongly as a rule. People have not been trained for setting up stages.

In Estonia, they usually use stage roofs where water is collected in case it rains. A couple of times, Rescue Board has been summonsed. There have been occasions where sound and light people have refused to put equipment on such platforms. Also, at times bands have refused to play.

- Who are those who do such a sloppy job, and why are they allowed to freely operate?

They can only operate because in Estonia what is bought is price, not safety. In his ignorance, a client will assume the provider of the platform is competent.

- What ought to be altered?

First, write down definite rules which all stages in public space must conform to. There ought to be inspection, on location, seeing that stages meet conditions. If not, they would ban use of a stage.

The first couple of times they get burned, as events get cancelled, perhaps then the clients will be considering where to order a platform.