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Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool

Green Day defended their performance at a music festival in Spain following an acrobat's death

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The punk rock band Green Day has responded to criticism for taking the stage after an acrobat fell to his death in front of festivalgoers at Madrid's Mad Cool Festival on Friday.

Green Day's frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong, explained on the band's website that they were unaware of what had happened until after they finished playing their set.

"We are not heartless people.”
Billie Joe Armstrong

“This has never happened in the 30 years Green Day have been performing live,” Armstrong said in a statement posted on the band's website Sunday. “If we had known prior to our performance we most likely would not have played at all. We are not heartless people.”

The band tweeted Friday night, shortly after finding out that acrobat Pedro Aunión Monroy had fallen 100 feet during a stunt in front of thousands of people at the festival. Paramedics spent 30 minutes trying to revive the 42-year-old, but were unable to save him, the BBC reports.

In the statement, Armstrong said about 15 minutes before the band was scheduled to take the stage, authorities told them there was "some sort of security issue." Shortly after that, the band was cleared to head over to the main stage.

“Everything seemed normal. The crowd and fans had 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,” Armstrong 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."

Festival organizers told The Washington Post that state and local authorities made the decision to carry on with the performances. Management released a statement saying, "We, the festival management, would like to publicly express our absolute grief and desolation regarding the incident that happened yesterday while choreographer, dancer and workmate Pedro Aunión was performing. We would like to express our love and support to all his family and friends at this hard and devastating time."

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