Green Day 'did not know' acrobat had died before they performed

Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong (centre) said the band did not know until after their set that an acrobat had fallen to his death at the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid where they played.
Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong (centre) said the band did not know until after their set that an acrobat had fallen to his death at the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid where they played.PHOTO: GREEN DAY/FACEBOOK

MADRID •Green Day members are not heartless people, said the band's singer Billie Joe Armstrong.

His remarks came after the trio drew flak for taking to the stage shortly after an acrobat's deadly fall in front of the crowd at a Madrid music festival.

Armstrong said the band were not aware of what had happened until after their 21/2-hour set.

"This has never happened in the 30 years Green Day have been performing live," he posted on Sunday on the band's website.

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"If we had known prior to our performance, we most likely would not have played at all."

Pedro Aunion Monroy had been performing an aerial stunt inside a cube being raised by a crane when he fell 30m in front of tens of thousands of people at the Mad Cool Festival.

About 15 minutes before Green Day's scheduled start, the local authorities told the band to wait "because there was some sort of security issue", not an abnormal occurrence at festivals.

Then they were cleared to play.

"Everything seemed normal. The crowd and fans had a good time. We got offstage and drove back to our artist compound. It was there when we were told the shocking news about Pedro," Armstrong said.

The organisers said "the decision to not stop the festival immediately was made between the state and local security forces as well as our security management".

They added that it had been deemed unsafe "to have a large mass of people moving all at once, with the possibility of violent reactions, due to the cancellation of an event of 45,000 people".

The Mad Cool Festival gig was the last stop on Green Day's European tour.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'Green Day 'did not know' acrobat had died before they performed'. Print Edition | Subscribe