Nine fans were killed during Pearl Jam’s performance at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark on Friday. The group was performing close to midnight when a surge from the crowd of more than 50,000 pushed towards the stage. Despite pleas from the band and from festival loudspeakers, nine fans suffocated and more than twenty-five were injured in the incident. Day-long rains created muddy conditions which caused the victims to slip under the surge where they were trampled.
The identities of the victims were withheld by Danish police, though they confirmed that a twenty-three-year-old Dutch man, a twenty-six-year-old German, three Swedes in their early twenties and three Danes were among the victims.
In the wake of the incident Oasis, the Cure and the Pet Shop Boys pulled out of the festival, which in its thirtieth year attracted more than 100,000 attendees. Pearl Jam cancelled the two remaining shows (in Belgium and the Netherlands) on their European tour and issued the following statement:
This is so painful…I think we are all waiting for someone to wake us and say it was just a horrible nightmare….
And there are absolutely no words to express our anguish in regard to the parents and loved ones of these precious lives that were lost.
We have not yet been told what actually occurred, but it seemed to be random and sickeningly quick…it doesn’t make sense.
When you agree to play at a festival of this size and reputation it is impossible to imagine such a heart-wrenching scenario.
Our lives will never be the same, but we know that is nothing compared to the grief of the families and friends of those involved.
It is so tragic…there are no words.
Despite the cancellations, the festival continued on Saturday. A day later, more than 1,200 people filled a Danish cathedral near Roskilde to mourn the victims.