Pearl Jam Demand Roskilde Answers

Band refuses to believe Roskilde incident was "freak accident"

July 26, 2000 12:00 AM ET

One week after a Danish police report held Pearl Jam "morally responsible" for the nine deaths at the Roskilde Festival on June 30, the group has broken its silence. The band issued its first statement on the incident since the immediate aftermath, and this time in addition to expressing their sorrow and regret about what transpired, Pearl Jam are aggressively seeking answers.

The group claimed it has stayed quiet in order to allow the police investigation to proceed without interruption. "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," the statement reads. "We owe it to everyone that has been impacted . . . to identify every possible factor that might have contributed to these tragedies."

Pearl Jam also took aim at the suggestion that the accident was a "freak accident" or "bad luck": "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."

The band then listed a number of factors it felt deserved closer scrutiny. Pearl Jam criticized the festival security's chain-of-command, citing a fifteen-minute gap between the moment a problem was identified and when the band was notified. The statement suggests that had the band been notified of the problem earlier it could have halted the performance sooner and possibly saved lives. Other points Pearl Jam called into question were the quantity and quality of emergency medical technicians on the site; the stage's poor sightlines, which made it difficult for the group to see potential problems as they transpired; and the festival's liberal policy in serving alcohol.

The statement concluded by referencing the Danish police report: "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."

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