SYSTEM OF A DOWN have exclusively spoken for the first time about their performance at the CARLING WEEKEND: LEEDS festival on Friday (August 22) which ended with three people hospitalised and 22 others injured after a crowd crush.
Before the band’s set on the Main Stage tonight (August 24) at the Reading site, bassist Shavo Odadjian exclusively spoke to NME.COM about the incident in which a crowd surge moved the safety barrier by half a metre; forcing the band to stop their gig for five minutes.
He said: “Because there are a lot of kids they get so excited they can push metal. They pushed the barricade but once we found out we stopped the show. We asked everyone: ‘If all 60,000 of you can take a step back’ and everyone looked at us as if we were crazy.”
“It’s our responsibilty,” Odadjian added. “Even though it’s my show, if kids are getting hurt you’ve got to stop. Once the energy starts coming from the fans and comes to us it creates a cycle of intense energy. Once that gets too much, you’ve got to stop it and create some peaceful energy.”
The bassist also gave a message to all of the fans who were involved on the night, saying: “You guys are some crazy motherfuckers to be right down at the front. That takes a lot of balls, strength and integrity to withstand being there in front of that many other fans.”
He added: “Those people at the front have to be there for a long time – you look out and you can’t see an end to the mass of people, so how do these kids get to the front? I give it up to them.”
Speaking about his expectations for SOAD’s set tonight, Odadjian said: “I feel really excited – I can’t wait to get onstage – it’s going to be pretty harsh. It’s total destruction – I’m really hurt right now. My back and my neck are killing me!”
As previously reported on NME.COM festival organiser Melvin Benn issued a statement to NME.COM, which read: “During the first few minutes of the System Of A Down performance at the Leeds Festival yesterday the front of stage barrier moved approximately half a metre. This resulted in a young girl trapping her foot. The performance of System Of A Down was halted for a few minutes to release the girl and re-pin the barrier, which at no time collapsed.
“The medical services have reported that 22 people were treated for minor injuries and the whole SOAD and Metallica performances continued with no further incident. Overall the medical services on site reported a 25% decrease in patients this year compared to the same time last year. Today’s performances are fully scheduled and under way and we’re looking forward to a great weekend of live music.”