First Avenue ceiling collapse injures concertgoers

The scene at First Avenue Wednesday following the ceiling collapse

The scene at First Avenue Wednesday following the ceiling collapse

Update #1 (10:45 a.m. Aug. 13): First Avenue announced it will be closing Thursday and Friday to assess "the cause of the incident" Wednesday. "We're working with City Inspectors and structural engineers to discover the reason this happened and how best to reopen safely," First Avenue Owner Dayna Frank says in a press release. "We're proud of our history, dedication to the Twin Cities music community, and the care with which we maintain the building. We look forward to reopening as soon as possible."

Update #2 (9 p.m. Aug. 13): First Avenue announced Saturday's sold-out Miguel concert will be relocated to the State Theatre. All previously purchased tickets will be honored; the show will remain general admission and is now all ages. 

Update #3 (10 a.m. Aug. 14): City officials informed the Star Tribune that plans are for the ceiling in First Avenue to be demolished. "Frankly, I’m not sure that anybody will ever be able to come in and just pinpoint 100 percent here’s what happened,” Kranz tells the Star Tribune.

Downtown Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue was evacuated late Wednesday after portions of the ceiling collapsed on audience members.

The debris from a 30-foot-by-30-foot portion of ceiling injured three to four concertgoers, the Minneapolis Fire Department reports. Hennepin County Medical Center spokeswoman Christine Hill tells the Star Tribune three people were admitted to the emergency room with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Large chunks of the ceiling fell around 10 p.m. near the back of the Mainroom during a set from Canadian rock band Theory of a Deadman, First Avenue General Manager Nate Kranz tells City Pages. The Mainroom was about two-thirds full. First Avenue and the adjoining 7th St. Entry and Depot Tavern were evacuated as a precaution, Kranz confirms, citing broken sprinkler pipes. Local bands What Tyrants and Stereo Confession were performing in the Entry. 

While he did not know the extent of the injuries, a "shocked" Kranz reports injured concertgoers sustained "cuts and bruises" and were conscious as they exited the venue.

“We don't know how this could have happened, but obviously we’ll have people out here tomorrow to survey the extent of the damage and how it came be," he says, adding that the venue is "anxious to find what happened and what we need to do to fix it.”

Here is video of the falling ceiling recorded by an Instagram user in attendance:

A video posted by 3 Pill Morning (@3pillmorning) on

When asked if there were any known issues with the ceiling, Kranz responded, "Absolutely not. We’re constantly doing our maintenance and taking care of inspections. We always have work going on; we’re in here all the time.”

Calling the situation "very fresh," Kranz says there is no timetable for reopening First Avenue and that the venue will work with artists to relocate shows if need be. "I don’t know if [First Ave will reopen] this weekend or a week from now," he says. The venue canceled all shows scheduled for Thursday and Friday in the Mainroom, 7th St. Entry, and upstairs Record Room. Neo-soul/R&B star Miguel is scheduled to perform in the Mainroom on Saturday (see update below); the show is sold out. 

Here is a series of updates late Wednesday from the fire department's Twitter account: