Roskilde Security Guard Says Music Should Have Ended Sooner
Per Johansen, who was one of 60 security personnel stationed near the stage barrier to control the crowd, said too many people had to approve the decision and a full 15 minutes elapsed between the time people started falling and the music stopped.
“If the music doesn’t stop, they’ll die,” Johansen recalled shouting to the leader of the security group, who was in a pit between the Roskilde festival’s main stage and the crowd.
Johansen told the Ekstra Bladet newspaper that he then shouted that those who had fallen in the mud “are dying now.”
Eight people suffocated Friday night when they were caught in a crush of fans pressing closer to the stage just before midnight as Pearl Jam was playing on the main stage of the popular Roskilde Festival.
Twenty-five people were injured and a 22-year-old Australian man remained hospitalized in serious condition, but his injuries were not life threatening according to police.
The grounds at the annual festival near Roskilde, 25 miles west of Copenhagen, were muddy from a day of rain when the tragedy occurred.
Johansen told Danish public radio that he asked the security chief in the pit to stop the music three times. Finally, that person, whom Johansen did not identify, put the request to the stage security person, who then contacted the main office. A person Johansen called the band’s U.S. manager was finally reached and the concert was interrupted.
Security guards began pulling concert-goers over a barrier and into a corridor set up for photographers and to evacuate people in an emergency. Some 50,000 people had attended the concert.
Festival organizers defended security arrangements but said they would look into the allegations. Promoter Leif Skov said each security guard could not be expected to have a full overview of the situation.
“Therefore, chains of command are necessary,” he said. “It’s important that this is investigated.”
Police spokesman Bengt Rungstroem said investigators were looking into security arrangements but had no immediate comment on the reports.
The fatal crush was the first major accident in the festival’s 29 year history.