At least eight fans were trampled to death Friday night (June 30) during Pearl Jam's set at the Roskilde rock and dance festival in Denmark, according to wire service reports.
The fans slipped on muddy ground in front of the stage and were crushed as a massive crowd surged forward during the Seattle rock group's set, the Associated Press reported. At least 26 fans were reportedly injured.
"This is so painful," Pearl Jam wrote in a statement posted on their Web site (www.sonymusic.com/artists/PearlJam/). "Our lives will never be the same, but we know that is nothing compared to the grief of the families and friends of those involved. It is so tragic ... there are no words."
The band repeatedly had begged the massive crowd to move away from the stage, according to Danish press accounts cited by Reuters.
"When you agree to play at a festival of this size and reputation it is impossible to imagine such a heart-wrenching scenario," Pearl Jam said in their statement.
AP reported that eight concert-goers died. Reuters said the death toll was nine. All the victims were men.
Pearl Jam reportedly halted their set after the deaths occurred, and the Cure, who were scheduled to play next, canceled their performance.
But performances reportedly continued on the festival's six other stages.
This year's lineup at the four-day outdoor festival, scheduled to run through Sunday, also includes such major acts as Nine Inch Nails, Bush, Underworld, Oasis, the Flaming Lips, Lou Reed and Live.
About 100,000 people were expected to attend the festival, which began Thursday.
Nearly 70 people were killed last year at concerts, including a number of deaths at European festivals, according to a report issued by concert-safety consultant Crowd Management Strategies.
In June 1999, a 19-year-old girl was crushed at the stage while the rock band Hole played at the Hultsfred festival in Sweden.
In December, five female fans were trampled by a rushing crowd at the G-Shock Air & Style Festival in Innsbruck, Austria. The show included sets by rapper Ice-T and rock band Creed.
Fifty-one teens and two police officers died in a stampede at an outdoor event last May in Minsk, Belarus, featuring the band Mango Mango.
In one of the worst U.S. concert disasters, 11 people were killed in a rush for general-admission seats before a Cincinnati performance by rock icons the Who often cited as an influence by Pearl Jam in 1979. In November 1999, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder performed as the opening act for the Who at two Chicago concerts.
(This story was updated at 2:03 a.m. EDT Saturday, July 1, 2000, with additional reporting.)