Underworld On Playing Roskilde At Time Of Tragedy

Pearl Jam isn’t the only band dealing with emotional reverberations from the deaths of nine fans at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival last month, as U.K. techno-rock-dubnobass act Underworld happened to be finishing its set on the festival’s second stage at the moment the tragedy occurred.

Underworld’s Rick Smith told MTV News that he and singer Karl Hyde were informed of the disaster shortly after coming offstage.

“One of the crew on the site came up and said, ‘Look, there is a problem, and some people have been hurt,’” recalled Smith, who said that he and Hyde were asked to walk back to their hotel rather than use transport needed for emergency purposes.

“What’s so incredibly sad is that the festival itself has been run since 1971,” Smith said. “Roskilde is one of the finest festivals in the world. All the money they make goes
to charity, and any profit at all they invest back into the public, in the comfort and facility of the public. Money doesn’t go to the artists so much, and you don’t get huge fees for playing at Roskilde. And I just felt so sorry for everyone.” [RealAudio]

Smith said that he could not imagine how Pearl Jam is dealing with the tragedy, which occurred when fans surged forward toward the main stage during the band’s set (see “UPDATE: Pearl Jam Performance Struck By Tragedy” ).

“What an awful thing to happen,” Smith began. “I don’t know if I could ever play again had I been on stage and that happened. It was just so tragic. It was just mud and a load of people and just an awful combination of events.


“As a parent, it made me shake the next day. Imagine if it was my child who was even in the crowd, let alone killed or hurt. I don’t know how I would deal with this.” [RealAudio]

As a veteran of such huge outdoor festivals as England’s annual Glastonbury shindig, Smith hopes that the events at Roskilde don’t doom the future of future outdoor festivals. “It is a bit like a plane crash,” Smith said. “You know, we don’t suddenly ban all planes.”

Underworld, which is playing select European dates as a duo since the departure last December of DJ Darren Emerson, will release its first live album “Everything, Everything” on September 12, with a tie-in live DVD scheduled to bow in October.