Pearl Jam Release Statement About the Roskilde Festival Tragedies and Investigation
July 26, 2000
Nine fans lost their lives during the band's concert at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, June 30, 2000, when the crowd surged toward the stage.
Pearl Jam released the following statement regarding the Roskilde Festival tragedies and investigation:
It was important to us to wait and allow an investigation to take place regarding the potential factors that might have contributed to the tragedies at the Roskilde Festival during our performance on June 30 before commenting publicly on some of those factors. Having now read the initial report released last week by Danish police, there are some comments we would like to make:
First, as we have said before, there are absolutely no words to express our anguish in regard to the parents and loved ones of the nine precious lives that were lost during our performance at Roskilde. We owe it to everyone that has been impacted--all of those we lost, all of those who loved them, all of those who were injured and all of the fans who attend our performances--to identify every possible factor that might have contributed to these tragedies.
It is our feeling that what happened at the Roskilde Festival cannot be written off entirely as a "freak accident" or "bad luck," as some have called it. When something this disastrous occurs, when this many lives are lost, it is essential that every aspect be examined thoroughly and from all angles. To date, we don't feel this has been done.
We will do everything possible to make sure that during this next phase of the investigation, every possible factor that might have contributed to the deaths and injuries at the Festival is uncovered and scrutinized. If we learn about any contributing factors that could have been handled differently, we will address them and take the appropriate steps to help ensure that what happened at Roskilde does not happen again. It would be our hope that promoters, venues, law enforcement, medical professionals and other artists would do the same. There are always things that can be learned and hopefully that can be improved upon to prevent future tragedies of this nature.
Specifically, some of the factors that we are looking into, and would like to see more thoroughly investigated, include:
- Chain-of-command for Festival security. It is our understanding that at least 15 minutes passed between the time a member of the Festival security team identified a potential problem and the time we were informed. We stopped the show immediately upon being informed that there might be a problem even though we were asked to wait until the nature of the problem could be determined. It is our belief that if we had been informed of a potential problem at the moment that it was first identified by the Festival security, we could have stopped the show earlier and lives could have been saved.
- Timeliness and adequate response by EMT's. And, potentially, a lack of adequate and/or necessary qualified technicians, emergency medical equipment and ambulances to quickly and adequately address medical emergencies. We have many questions with regard to the Festival's preparedness for handling medical emergencies, including: How many actual qualified EMT's were on site? Was the size of the medical tent large enough to handle medical emergencies? Was there a clear path to the medical tent from the front of the crowd? How many ambulances were on site for an event of this size and magnitude? What type of medical equipment was on site and in what quantities?
- Poor visibility of the audience from the stage and front of barricade making it difficult to identify potential problems in the crowd from the stage.
- Potentially, the use of alcohol, or the amount of alcohol served to concert-goers at the Festival.
It has been reported that we have been accused by the Danish police of being "morally responsible" for the tragedies that occurred at Roskilde. We feel that we are "morally responsible" to bring out the truth with regard to what happened that night. The recent re-opening of the investigation will hopefully further these truths.
Roskilde Police Commissioner's response, August 3, 2000
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