An acrobat died in a tragic accident just before Green Day’s headlining set at Madrid’s Mad Cool Festival on Friday. After facing criticism for continuing with their performance in the aftermath of the tragedy, the band have issued an official statement on their website, addressing the backlash and clarifying that they were not informed about the incident until afterwards:
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. 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.
Many of you are wondering why we continued to play our show after the accident.
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. 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 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. we waited as we were instructed. Still, We had no clue there was any such accident.
We were given the ok. The band jumped into vans and drove to the main festival stage. This was to be the last show of our European tour and we were all so excited to play our hearts out one last time.
We were on stage at around midnight and played around two and a half hours. Everything seemed normal. the crowd and fans had a good time. We got off stage and drove back to our artist compound.
It was there when we were told the shocking news about Pedro. All of us were in disbelief. 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. 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.
Billie Joe Armstrong
And here’s a statement from the Mad Cool organizers:
We, the festival management, would like to publicly express our absolute grief and desolation regarding the incident that happened at the festival on Friday 7th July while choreographer, dancer and workmate Pedro Aunion was performing. We would like to express our love and support to all his family and friends at this hard and devastating time.
With regard to the festival’s response in the aftermath of the incident:
1 – In order to preserve the privacy of Pedro’s family, there were no statements made nor was his identity revealed without the family’s prior knowledge. We ask that the press respect the privacy of Pedro’s family and they are allowed to grieve. We hope that we will be joined in making this a priority.
2 – The decision to not stop the festival immediately was made between the state and local security forces, as well as our security management. Mad Cool Festival complied with all the corresponding security measures that are mandatory for the audience, artists and workers at festivals and was prepared for all eventualities. In this situation it was officially deemed unsafe to have a large mass of people moving all at once, with the possibility of violent reactions, due to a sudden cancelation of an event of 45,000 people. The safety and security of the fans at the festival was of the highest order and it was not compromised.
Throughout the night and since the tragedy, we worked together in a coordinated way with the healthcare professionals present at the event, as well as the emergency services of the city council and security team. A psychological unit was made available to the family.
We believe music and culture are a life celebration and the festival pays tribute to all the artists that work everyday showcasing their talent in front of admiring and appreciative audiences.
Mad Cool would officially like to thank the audience for their kindness and support, the security forces and emergency services who worked so hard to keep everyone safe and we offer our gratitude and affection to all at this hard time.
This article originally appeared in Stereogum.