Green Day defend festival headline set following acrobat’s death

Pedro Aunión Monroy died after falling 100 feet during a stunt between sets at Madrid's Mad Cool festival

Green Day have defended their headline slot at Madrid’s Mad Cool festival following the death of an acrobat.

Pedro Aunión Monroy was attempting a between-sets stunt before the punk trio played, which involved an illuminated box suspended by a crane. He fell 100 feet and died from injuries suffered in the accident soon after.

Following criticism for going ahead with their performance, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has written a statement, published on the band’s website. “Many of you are wondering why we continued to play our show after the accident,” he wrote. “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.”

As Rolling Stone reports, the group’s set only suffered a slight delay after the accident, causing festival-goers to accuse both the band and Mad Cool organisers of insensitivity. Festival bosses said the event continued as planned for “security reasons”.

Green Day had tweeted after their performance on Friday night (July 7) that they didn’t learn of Monroy’s death until after they had played. Armstrong explained how that was in his statement. “These festivals are huge,” he wrote. “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.”

He continued: “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.”

He added that, despite the crowd having witnessed Monroy’s fall, from the stage he and his bandmates didn’t sense any issues. “Everything seemed normal,” he explained. “The crowd and fans had a good time.”

Armstrong also explained that the band didn’t learn of Monroy’s death until they had returned to the backstage compound. “All of us were in disbelief,” he wrote. “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.”

Armstrong finished the statement by sending the band’s best wishes to Monroy’s family and friends. “What happened to Pedro is unthinkable,” he wrote. “Once again we are heartbroken for his friends and family. We are also shocked and heartbroken for anyone that had to witness this tragedy.”