Tragedy Hits Pukkelpop

The lead singer of UK band Ou Est Le Swimming Pool was the second person to die at Pukkelpop Festival, but the organizers say global newswire stories about him jumping off a radio mast are incorrect.

Hasselt district attorney Marc Rubens confirmed police are treating Charles Haddon’s death as suicide, but say it was actually caused by him hanging himself from fencing surrounding the backstage area.

Chokri Mahassine, who produces the festival in partnership with Herman Schueremans of Live Nation Belgium, said he’s agreeing to Haddon’s family’s request to make no further public comment.

Haddon’s band played its afternoon slot when he returned to the stage and dived into the crowd, which parted instead of catching him. One woman was reportedly unable to get away and severely injured her back. The exact chronological details of what happened next aren’t clear, but he was reportedly very upset about by the outcome of his actions.

His body was found after the other band members and crew had packed the equipment and were ready to leave the site.

It was the second death at Pukkelpop within 24 hours. A day earlier Michael Been, the 60-year-old frontman of American band The Call, died of an apparent heart attack while working as a soundman for his son’s band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

“While health and safety is the highest priority at all our festivals, there are some things that simply cannot be avoided in a crowd of that size,” Schueremans told Pollstar.

“The attack happened while he was working in the backstage area and within a couple of minutes he was being attended by the Flemish Red Cross using the best resuscitation equipment.

“Even so, they could not save him, but it could be argued that he had more chance of survival than he would have had if the heart attack had happened while he was sitting in his home. The treatment would not have been available so quickly.”

Schueremans pointed out that a festival such as Pukkelpop is the equivalent of a city with a population of 62,500, where it wouldn’t be international news if someone died of a heart attack.

He said he doesn’t want to comment on Haddon’s state of mind immediately prior to his death beyond saying he was told Haddon was very upset by the stage-diving incident.

Formerly a pupil at Rugby school in Warwickshire, Haddon moved to Camden in north London in 2008. There he met bandmates Caan Capan and Joel Hutchinson who already performed as a synth-pop duo after forming during secondary school French lessons.

Last year the band was support on La Roux’s UK tour and was set for its own headline tour in October, scheduled to promote its debut album.

The other acts at a sold-out Pukkelpop Aug. 19-21 included Iron Maiden, Placebo, The Prodigy, The Flaming Lips, Snow Patrol, Pendulum, Gogol Bordello, Ill Niño, White Lies, Marina & The Diamonds, Mumford & Sons, Queens of the Stone Age, Seasick Steve, and The XX.