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‘We Are Not Heartless People’: Green Day on Performing After Fatal Stunt


Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performing in 2009.

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Thousands of festivalgoers watched as an acrobat plunged to his death at the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid on Friday before the punk band Green Day took the stage. The group began their headlining set 30 minutes after the fatal fall, drawing an instant backlash on social media.

Green Day tweeted a statement on Friday claiming the band members heard of the tragic incident only after their set ended.

The Brighton-based aerial dancer Pedro Aunion Monroy, 42, was performing a stunt inside an illuminated box suspended by a crane, appearing after the alternative British band alt-J, and before Green Day. Mr. Monroy, who looked to be wearing a harness, briefly dangled beneath the box near the main stage before plummeting 100 feet. He died shortly after emergency workers arrived. It is unclear why the equipment malfunctioned during Mr. Monroy’s stunt.

In a statement released on Friday on Green Day’s website, Billie Joe Armstrong, the guitarist and vocalist, said local authorities ordered the band to delay its performance for security reasons. He reiterated that the band was not informed about the acrobat’s death at the time.

“All of us were in disbelief. I don’t know why the authorities chose not to tell us about the accident before our concert,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “If we had known prior to our performance, we most likely would not have played at all. We are not heartless people.”

Green Day’s performance was only slightly delayed, triggering accusations of insensitivity against the band and festival organizers.

“Mad Cool Festival regrets the terrible accident that the aerial dancer suffered during the second day of the festival,” the festival directors wrote in a statement. “For security reasons, the festival decided to continue with its programming. We send our most sincere condolences to all his family.”

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