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Green Day: “We are not heartless people”

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has said again he was unaware of the death of acrobat Pedro Aunión Monroy before their set at Mad Cool Festival last weekend, adding that the band would have likely scrapped their performance had they known about the accident.

Forty-two-year-old Monroy had reportedly been performing a routine in a transparent box suspended from a crane when he fell and his harness snapped. He plunged some 100ft and passed away in hospital later that evening.

The Spanish festival, in its second year, was put on hold for around 45 minutes before Friday headliners Green Day took the stage.

Both Green Day and Mad Cool’s promoter, Live Nation Spain, were criticised by some festivalgoers who felt the festival should have been called off. Green Day issued a brief tweet at the time indicating they had not been made aware of the accident, saying after the set that they had “just got off stage […] to disturbing news”.

Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong yesterday followed that up with a longer statement, outlining how the band had simply been told there was a “security issue” – and describing their “heartbreak” when finding out the reason for the delay.

“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”

Armstrong’s full statement is reproduced below:

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 backstage compound about a half mile away from the main festival stage. We were warming up, ready to go at 11.25pm. Fifteen 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.

 


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Mad Cool ‘desolated’ after acrobat falls to death

The promoters of Madrid’s Mad Cool Festival have spoken of their “absolute desolation” following a tragic accident which saw an acrobatic performer fall to his death yesterday evening.

Forty-two-year-old aerialist Pedro Aunión Monroy, a director of UK-based performing arts company In Fact Productions, had been performing to the Prince song ‘Purple Rain’ in a illuminated box hanging from a crane when he fell some 100ft to the ground below. According to Spanish media reports, witnesses say Monroy was wearing a harness but it snapped and he plunged “like lead” from a height of around 30m.

Monroy (pictured) was treated at the scene but later died in hospital.

The festival was put on hold for around 45 minutes before Friday headliners Green Day took the stage. In a tweet, the band indicated they had not been made aware of the accident until after their set:

In a brief statement issued yesterday, Mad Cool – promoted by Live Nation Spain – said it “mourns the terrible accident” but, for “security reasons”, would not be postponing or cancelling the festival.

The festival added to that this afternoon, expressing its “absolutely grief and desolation” over Monroy’s death and offering its “love and support to all his family and a friends at this hard and devastating time”.

Addressing its decision not to cancel – which met with some criticism on social media – the festival said it was “deemed unsafe to have a large mass of people moving all at once […] due to the sudden cancellation of an event of 45,000 people”.  It added that, as “music and culture are a celebration of life”, Mad Cool will continue as planned today “in order that we can pay tribute to all the artists that work every day demonstrating their talent in front of admiring and appreciative audiences.

“Pedro was a person totally committed to art; he deserves all our respect and admiration, and we strive to ensure this.”

Mad Cool Festival 2017 wraps up its third and final day tonight, with Kings of Leon closing the event.

 


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