Richard LoGuercio, president of the company supplying tents and rentals to the 2009 Virgin Galactic event, stands up for the event tent's structural integrity
In regard to the article I just read in the online version of Special Events ("Event Experts Debate Whether Collapsing Stages Can be Prevented," Aug. 17), Dave Smith of ShowPro is a great guy and very knowledgeable but mistakenly claimed that the tent we lost in the Mojave Desert for the Virgin Galactic event was rated for 30 mph and that it why it collapsed. Not so.
As Dave said in the article, “Let’s stick with the science.” Here is the true science: The tent we erected for that event was a Losberger structure. Tent engineering and “state of the art” doesn’t get much better than that. These tents are recognized worldwide as being the safest and most reliable in extreme weather conditions and high winds. This is the reason we decided to add the Losberger product line to our inventory.
Everything that we did on this project was by the book, from building permits, extended weather forecasts and installation. On the day of the event and in 70 mph winds, the tent held its position perfectly; however, when we started getting hit with wind gusts over 80 and 90 mph, things started rocking and eventually several wind gusts over 100 mph and as high as 115 mph (verified by reports by the Mojave Control Tower), the tent finally ended its gallant battle and gave up. Everything has its limitations!
Thank God, the event was winding down and it was not as crowded as it was earlier, and we all had the good sense to get everyone out before things really started blowing and lives could have been lost.
Being in this business for more than 40 years, I, as well as many other industry veterans have our fair share of “war stories” when it comes to tents and the responsibilities that we have when it comes to safety and the wellbeing of the people while they are under our tents. Product knowledge, experience and workmanship are constantly kept in mind when erecting any tent, small or large. I think as an industry, we have an excellent record; however, sometimes, Mother Nature arises with a vengeance and makes us aware that unfortunately we are only mere mortals and everything finally has its limitations. I think your readers should be aware of that fact.
There will always be companies that will erect a tent without giving any thought to what could happen “if” the weather kicks up and cut corners to save money because they underbid the job. Companies like this are an accident waiting to happen. Like I tell all my sales people, if it looks unsafe and you think keeping your fingers crossed is going to help a tent stay up, walk away or come up with a safe solution for challenging installations. It’s just not worth it!
Town & Country Event Rentals
Van Nuys CA91406