It saddens me to report this concert news that this week a concert fan committed suicide during a Swell Season concert. I can’t imagine what it was like to experience such a tragic and emotional moment both as an artist and a fan.
As All Shook Down reports, the terrible situation unfolded as a fan climbed up to the top outdoor venue, sprinted to the edge and fell to his death.
Several who were at the concert tell All Shook Down that the man climbed up onto the roof from the side of the building, then sprinted and stumbled to the top before jumping off as the band was finishing a song. He fell approximately three stories, possibly through lighting rigging, then landed on a speaker on the stage less than three feet from Swell Season vocalist/songwriter Glen Hansard, witnesses tell All Shook down in e-mails.
Concertgoers say a stunned Hansard walked over to the man before realizing what had happened. Then he and Swell Season member Marketa Irglova quickly left the stage. The stunned audience was asked to remain seated as paramedics reached the man, but CPR was abandoned minutes after it began, and a helicopter was later called off.
Here’s what one fan, Paul Cox, experienced as he shares his story in the comments on the All Shook Down post:
I can definitely relate to the witness who thought it was a dummy at first. That’s how it looked to me — specifically because the man appeared to tumble sideways, head over heels, away from the wall. With the outward thrust towards the crowd, he really did look like a dummy being thrown off of the roof.
He hit the stage with a massive thump, and for a moment, the entire venue was silent. I felt like my brain was stuck, trying to make sense of what I had just seen. The horror of the incident was made clear when Glen Hansard ran over to the man, knelt down and yelled at someone offstage, “Quickly!”
As my wife and I drove home, we thought about how for all of the 3,000 people at the concert, Glen’s personal experience of this event was probably the most frightening. Everyone in the crowd was looking at the stage, but Glen was the one person there with his back turned to the jumper, and he was the closest to where he landed. The shock of a human’s body landing with such a thud just feet away from him, and seemingly from out of nowhere, must have been traumatic beyond belief.
It was pretty clear to everyone in the crowd after a few minutes that the jumper was dead. A man was administering CPR for quite a while with no apparent effect.
The staff at the venue asked people to leave their seats but not to leave the venue in their cars, in order to keep the narrow and windy road that leads up to the winery free for emergency vehicles. After about an hour, they announced that we could drive home. Someone on twitter posted that a helicopter medevac was canceled, which would make sense of the fact that while we waited to leave the venue, a helicopter approached and flew high over the winery and then turned around, heading back in the direction it came from.
Then a few days later the Swell Season posted this statement on their website offering grief counseling through Kara to those fans who experienced the suicide.
At some point over the weekend we met with grief counselors to help try and make sense of this situation. While we likely will never gain the answers we need, what we did get out of the conversations were of great service to our mind, body and soul. In regards to coping with what we witnessed it was a step in the right direction. We have come to realize that some of those in attendance may be in need of similar counseling and may not be receiving it. Our hearts go out to you and we want to encourage you to talk to someone who has experience in these types of matters.
We have reached out to Kara, a Bay Area organization that is available to assist with grief counseling for attendees. Kara offers one-to-one grief counseling and have also set up several drop in groups specifically for you over the next couple of weeks.
Again, we are saddened by this news. And as always, we send our thoughts and prayers to family and friends of everyone involved in this tragic event. And like we’ve done before on Live Fix, we pay tribute to those who unfortunately had to experience this by remembering other concert fans who have passed on.
Were You There?
Were you at the Swell Season Saratoga show? Do you have thoughts about fans experiencing grief and trauma and other emotions during a show? Let us know what you think and we’ll share your feedback during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.