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How Sugarland's Stage Manager Saved Their Lives in Stage Collapse

USMagazine, Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 1:29pm (PDT)

Sugarland might have narrowly escaped death this weekend, but the duo is still reeling from the tragedy at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday.

Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles, the pair who make up country band Sugarland, released a letter to fans on Tuesday via their official website, three days after the stage collapse that left five fans dead and dozens injured at a performance in Indiana. "While the path to healing from this type of trauma and loss is long and winding, we wanted to reach out and update you on where we are and how we are," they said.

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"We are in the process of planning a private memorial in Indiana, to honor those fans who died," the band announced, before extending prayers to those still recovering. "For those suffering from injury we hold you up with prayers for complete healing of your own."

They also addressed the future of their Incredible Machine Tour: "There is healing in our working together. For this reason we are planning to get back on the road this weekend, beginning with our scheduled show in Albuquerque this Thursday, August 18th. The emotions have us yearning to be close to each other immediately."

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And Bush, 41, and Nettles, 36, could have been two more victims of the freak accident, which occurred after wind gusts between 60 and 70 mph caused the stage to collapse onto the audience, were in not for stage manager Hellen Rollens.

According to Sugarland's manager, Gail Gellman, Rollens held them back after a prayer circle as the weather became more unstable. Moments later, the stage collapsed. Gellman told the Associated Press, "Her decision to hold them for literally a minute saved every band member and crew's life."

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