Pearl Jam have responded to the first findings of the Danish police investigation into ROSKILDE FESTIVAL tragedy in which nine people died after a crush at the front of the stage during the band’s set on June 30.
On the band’s official Synergy website, [a][/a], they answer claims that they were “morally responsible” for the tragedy, saying: “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 what happened that night. The recent re-opening of the investigation will hopefully further these truths.”
They also demand that the disaster must not be written off as a “freak accident or bad luck,” and have called for a more thorough investigation of the contributing factors.
The band have highlighted four specific areas that they feel should be addressed – including the amount of alcohol served to festival-goers, speed of response by emergency medical teams, poor visibility from the stage and the front of the barricade making it difficult to identify potential problems in the crowd from the stage and the chain of command for festival security.
The statement reads: “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 that 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 scrutinised. 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 the 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 further tragedies of this nature.”
Reiterating their anguish at the tragedy, the band say they wanted to wait until investigations into the deaths had produced some findings before publicly commenting on the accident, and add: “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 the fans who attend our performances – to identify every possible factor that might have contributed to these tragedies.”
As previously reported on nme.com, police in Denmark blamed crowd-surfing, which they said the band had encouraged, for the crush in which eight male fans died. Another man later died from his injuries in hospital.
Roskilde Deputy Chief Constable, Bent Rungstrom said the band were responsible for “whipping the crowd into a frenzy… the ground was slippery and visibility was poor due to vapour in the air from many thousand people sweating”.