Green Day Defends Performing Festival Set Shortly After Acrobat's Death: 'We Are Not Heartless People'
By Zach Seemayer
The members of Green Day are defending themselves against accusations of insensitivity after performing a set at the Mad Cool Festival in Spain immediately following a fatal on-stage accident that left a Spanish acrobat dead.
The tragic mishap occurred on Friday during a performance featuring acrobat Pedro Aunion Monroy, who was performing an aerial stunt in front of the massive crowd. The performance went wrong and, despite safety precautions, Monroy fell more than 100 feet to the ground.
After a short delay, Green Day, who were the nights' headliners, took the stage and performed their set as planned. However, the band has released a statement claiming that they weren't informed of Monroy's death until after their performance had ended.
"Last night at the Mad Cool festival in Spain there was a horrific accident. An acrobat by the name of Pedro was killed during his performance before Green Day played our show," Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wrote in a message posted to their website. "We are so sad for Pedro and his family and we pray for them in this time of grief. I can't imagine how much suffering the friends and family are going through."
The statement was issued in response to a wave of criticism, aimed both at Green Day and the Mad Cool Festival organizers, for continuing on with their concert despite Monroy's public death.
According to the band, they didn't know that an acrobatic performance was even going on during the festival, explaining, "These festivals are huge. 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. We were warming up ready to go at 11:25 p.m.," the message continued. "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. We waited as we were instructed. Still, we had no clue there was any such accident."
Armstrong said that all the band members "were in disbelief" after hearing of Monroy's fatal accident, and that if they had been informed before taking the stage, they would "most likely would not have played at all."
"We are not heartless people," Armstrong wrote. "The safety and well-being at any of our concerts absolutely comes first. What happened to Pedro is unthinkable. Once again we are heartbroken for his friends and family. We are also shocked and heartbroken for anyone that had to witness this tragedy."
Green Day's performance at the festival marked the final concert in the European leg of their Revolution Radio World Tour. The bad is set to kick off the seventh leg of their tour, across North America, with a performance at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, Washington on August 1.
Organizers of the Mad Cool Festival also released a comment about the incident, and defended their decision to continue with the festival despite the shocking accident.
"Mad Cool Festival regrets the terrible accident that the aerial dancer suffered during the second day of the festival," organizers said in a statement, posted to their site in Spanish. "For security reasons, the festival decided to continue with its programming."