Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong Defends Festival Set Following Acrobat’s Death: ‘We Are Not Heartless People’

Following criticism of Green Day for carrying on with their show at the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid on Saturday after an acrobatic performer died, singer Billie Joe Armstrong said the band did not know of the tragedy until after their set.

Pedro Aunion Monroy, 42, was performing an aerial stunt inside a cube being suspended by a crane when he fell 100 ft. in front of thousands of people. He died from his injuries, according to the BBC.

“Many of you are wondering why we continued to play our show after the accident,” Armstrong explained in a statement obtained by PEOPLE and posted on Green Day’s website. “Green Day did not hear about the accident until after our show was over. We didn’t even know there was an acrobat performance at all.”

He continued, “These festivals are huge. There are so many things happening at the same time it’s impossible to keep up with every performer/artist.”

Armstrong said that the band was warming up at the artist compound about half a mile away from the festival stage before the show.

He shared that they were delayed about 15 minutes from going on due to what they were told was a security problem.

“Security issues are a normal occurrence and procedure at any show. We were NOT told why which is also normal. We waited as we were instructed,” Armstrong said. “Still, we had no clue there was any such accident.”

The rocker said everything seemed “normal” during the show and the fans were having a good time.

“We got off stage and drove back to our artist compound. It was there when we were told the shocking news about Pedro,” he said. “All of us were in disbelief. I don’t know why the authorities chose not to tell us about the accident before our concert. All we know is what was said after our concert.”

He continued, “This has never happened in the 30 years Green Day have been performing live. If we had known prior to our performance we most likely would not have played at all. We are not heartless people. The safety and well being at any of our concerts absolutely comes first. What happened to Pedro is unthinkable. Once again we are heartbroken for his friends and family.”

from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/music/green-day-billie-joe-armstrong-defends-mad-cool-festival-set-following-acrobats-death/

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