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But even smaller festivals feel the crunch.

“Bigger and better is what everyone wants, and more elaborate,” said Jack Hammer, executive director of the Three Rivers Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind., a nine-day event that includes rides, games and concerts. One show there drew about 7,500 people last month.

Safety regulations, experts say, haven’t kept up the pace in part because they aren’t standard. No single government agency oversees or sets rules for outdoor concerts, leaving a range of guidelines across events.

The Indiana State Fair had a one-page emergency plan with only general bullet points and fair officials aren’t sure whether anyone is supposed to inspect stages. No one inspects the stage at the Three Rivers Festival. Chicago, meanwhile, has some of the strictest standards in the country and requires outdoor events _ including Lollapalooza and Pitchfork _ to pass the city’s building codes, have a wind gauge on stage and provide a “high wind action plan” for what organizers will do if gusts go above 30 mph.

Still, organizers and host cities cite improvements available to events that seek them out. For example, updated weather-tracking technology can give festival and fair organizers warnings well ahead of hazardous storms.

When Oprah Winfrey closed down Chicago’s Michigan Avenue in 2009 to film her season premiere with a performance by the Black Eyed Peas, the stage was equipped with not only a wind gauge but a full on weather center.

Indiana State Fair officials acknowledged Wednesday that the fair did not follow its one-page severe weather emergency plan before Saturday’s collapse and that fans should have been told that the National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning.

Alan Morgenstern, who owns Morningstar Productions, a Southern California-based company that has provided stages for musicians like Billy Ray Cyrus and events like Comic-Con, said more attention needs to be focused on keeping people on or near stages safe as they continue to grow.

“The guys who work for me are extremely careful and take time to go the extra mile for safety, and I think that’s the key,” he said. “You really have to think that when you’re putting something over people’s heads, it’s got to be safe.”

The Black Eyed Peas announced Wednesday that their canceled charity show will be rescheduled for Sept. 30 in Central Park.

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Sophia Tareen can be reached at http://twitter.com/sophiatareen.

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Caitlin R. King in Nashville, Tenn., John Rogers in Los Angeles, Tom Coyne in South Bend, Ind., and Nekesa Mumbi Moody in New York contributed to this report.

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