Pearl Jam Addresses 20th Anniversary Of Roskilde Tragedy With Emotional Statement

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Pearl Jam posted a touching statement about the tragic incident that occured during their Roskilde Festival set in Denmark 20 years ago today. Nine festivalgoers died and others were injured after they were crushed in a mosh pit in front of the stage where Pearl Jam was headlining the festival on June 30, 2000. “Nothing has been the same since,” wrote the band.

Eight men were suffocated to death at the scene of Pearl Jam’s performance, while another died five days later in a hospital. The band canceled the rest of their tour and purportedly nearly broke up in the aftermath of the worst trampling related incident at a concert since 11 fans lost their lives at a The Who show in 1979.

Pearl Jam references the Roskilde tragedy in their 2002 song “Love Boat Captain.” The Seattle rockers used the song as the soundtrack for an Instagram post that includes the start of the statement. Read what Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard wrote on behalf of the band about the 20th anniversary of the worst day in their history below:

  • It’s been 20 years since that day.
  • A normal festival show day…show up 5 hours ahead. Wait for your slot.
  • I barely remember it…
  • Sunny, I think.
  • Lou Reed played, I think.
  • Then rain and wind.

But nothing has been the same since.

An unexpected moment intervened that forever changed all involved.

The 9 young men who were trampled. The lives of their families and loved ones who had to endure imagining their deaths over and over and the reality of never seeing them again. Every person at the festival who witnessed what was happening and tried to do something, maybe pulling someone up, or not being able to…

And those, like our band, who never realized anything was going on at all until it was too late…

All of us Forever waiting for the news to be different.

20 years later our band has 11 more kids, all of them precious, and another 20 years between us…

Our understanding of gravity and the loss felt by the parents of those boys has grown exponentially magnified as we imagine our own children dying in circumstances like Roskilde 2000.

It is unthinkable, yet there it is. Our worst nightmare.

Every day our hearts continue to ache and our stomachs turn at the thoughts of those young men dying and of what might have been different, if only…but nothing changes.

And our pain is a thousandth of that of the families…. the moms and dads, sisters and brothers, best friends…

Our deepest condolences and apologies to the families who lost their boys that day.

To the brothers and sisters, grandmas and grandpas and friends, all who lost their precious being…

Everyone failed to live up to what was needed in those hours before and in those days following the tragedy. The festival, the media, us included. We retreated and became angry after many reports implied PJ was responsible. Our words were nothing to help at that point. We hid and hoped that it wasn’t our fault. We have been trying our best to unhide ever since.

We’ve met some of the families over the years. With some, we have forged strong friendships…sharing and supporting each other. Some we do not know.

Young men who loved PJ and wanted to get up close. That was the through-line of all those who passed that day. We hope we will never know what that loss feels like. We hope.

We are forever in the shadow of your pain and loss and we accept that shade and are forever grateful to share that sacred space. The space created by the absence of those 9 young men…

Statement on behalf of Pearl Jam, authored by Stone Gossard.

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Pearl Jam played in Berlin, Germany 10 years ago today. Frontman Eddie Vedder spoke of Roskilde and asked for a moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives one decade prior. Watch Vedder’s speech via gndcd402:

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