Fifteen Years Later, How The Roskilde Tragedy Changed Pearl Jam Forever

06.30.15 4 years ago 9 Comments
Big Day Out 2014 - Auckland

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Lost nine friends we’ll never know…
— Pearl Jam, “Love Boat Captain”

It had been raining. The festival grounds of the Roskilde Festival in the sleepy farm town of Roskilde, Denmark were soaked. At 10:30 p.m. on June 30, 2000, Pearl Jam took the stage, looking out at 50,000 cold and damp fans. Their set would at end a mere 45 minutes later, upon the completion of “Daughter.” In that time, eight people in the crowd had died. A ninth would die five days later.

At the start of the band’s set, a stampede had broken out, crushing people, leaving them trampled on and left to die. Seemingly everyone involved had fingers pointed at them in the days that followed, whether it was the band for inciting the crowd, festival security for failing to control the scene, or even the speaker towers, which people claimed were malfunctioning, causing people to get closer to the stage to be able to hear. But nine people had died; that fact was indisputable. The effects of that night would stay with Pearl Jam for quite a while.

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