Green Day, Festival Promoters Explain Why an Acrobat’s Death Didn’t Stop the Show
Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has offered an explanation of why the band played its headlining set at Spain's Mad Cool Festival, following the tragic death of an acrobat.
The show went on, and Both Green Day and the Mad Cool Festival have come under fire for the decision not to pull the plug after the performer known as "Pedro" fell 100 feet to his death when his harness snapped.
Festival organizers say the decision was made "for security reasons" - their full statement is below - and now Armstrong has released his own statement explaining why the band performed despite the tragic event.
"Many of you are wondering why we continued to play our show after the accident. Green Day did not hear about the accident until after our show was over," Armstrong said in a statement. "We were warming up ready to go at 11:25 pm. 15 minutes prior our tour management was told by local authorities to wait to go on stage because there was some sort of security issue."
"Security issues are a normal occurrence and procedure at any show," he continued. "We were given the ok. The band jumped into vans and drove to the main festival stage."
Armstrong noted that he and the band are praying for Pedro's loved ones, and are heartbroken for them and everyone who witnessed the tragedy.
You can read Armstrong's statement in full below.
Last night at the Mad Cool festival in Spain there was a horrific accident. An acrobat by the name of Pedro was killed during his performance before Green Day played our show. We are so sad for Pedro and his family and we pray for them in this time of grief. I can't imagine how much suffering the friends and family are going through.
Many of you are wondering why we continued to play our show after the accident.
Green Day did not hear about the accident until after our show was over.
We didn't even know there was an acrobat performance at all. these festivals are huge. There are so many things happening at the same time it's impossible to keep up with every performer/artist..
We were in a back stage compound about a half mile away from the main festival stage. We were warming up ready to go at 11:25 pm. 15 minutes prior our tour management was told by local authorities to wait to go on stage because there was some sort of security issue.
Security issues are a normal occurrence and procedure at any show.. we were NOT told why which is also normal. we waited as we were instructed. Still, We had no clue there was any such accident.
We were given the ok. The band jumped into vans and drove to the main festival stage. This was to be the last show of our European tour and we were all so excited to play our hearts out one last time.
We were on stage at around midnight and played around two and a half hours. Everything seemed normal. the crowd and fans had a good time. We got off stage and drove back to our artist compound. It was there when we were told the shocking news about Pedro. All of us were in disbelief. I don't know why the authorities chose not to tell us about the accident before our concert. All we know is what was said after our concert.
This has never happened in the 30 years Green Day have been performing live.
If we had known prior to our performance we most likely would not have played at all. We are not heartless people. The safety and well being at any of our concerts absolutely comes first.
What happened to Pedro is unthinkable. Once again we are heartbroken for his friends and family. and we are also shocked and heartbroken for anyone that had to witness this tragedy.
Billie Joe Armstrong
Here is the Festival's statement:
“The decision to not stop the festival immediately was made between the state and local security forces, as well as our security management.
Mad Cool Festival complied with all the corresponding security measures that are mandatory for the audience, artists and workers at festivals and was prepared for all eventualities.
In this situation it was officially deemed unsafe to have a large mass of people moving all at once, with the possibility of violent reactions, due to a sudden cancellation of an event of 45,000 people. The safety and security of the fans at the festival was of the highest order and it was not compromised.
Throughout the night and since the tragedy, we worked together in a coordinated way with the healthcare professionals present at the event, as well as the emergency services of the city council and security team. A psychological unit was made available to the family.”
We believe music and culture are a life celebration and the festival pays tribute to all the artists that work everyday showcasing their talent in front of admiring and appreciative audiences. Mad Cool would officially like to thank the audience for their kindness and support, the security forces and emergency services who worked so hard to keep everyone safe and we offer our gratitude and affection to all at this hard time.”
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