On June 30, 2000 — 20 years ago today — nine people were killed in a suffocating mosh pit during Pearl Jam‘s set at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. To mark the solemn anniversary, the band has issued a statement authored by guitarist Stone Gossard reflecting on the tragedy and paying tribute to the nine lives lost.

“It’s been 20 years since that day,” Gossard begins. “A normal festival show day…But nothing has been the same since.”

“An unexpected moment intervened that forever changed all involved,” he continues. “The 9 young men who were trampled. The lives of their families and loved ones who had to endure imagining their deaths over and over and the reality of never seeing them again.”

As the years have gone by and the Pearl Jam family has grown by 11 more kids, Gossard says that band’s “understanding of gravity and the loss felt by the parents of those boys has grown exponentially magnified.”

“It is unthinkable, yet there it is. Our worst nightmare,” he writes “Every day our hearts continue to ache and our stomachs turn at the thoughts of those young men dying and of what might have been different, if only…but nothing changes.”

Gossard then offers Pearl Jam’s “deepest condolences and apologies” to the families of those who died, and adds that the band “failed to live up to what was needed in those hours before and in those days following the tragedy.”

“We hid and hoped that it wasn’t our fault,” he writes. “We have been trying our best to unhide ever since.”

“We are forever in the shadow of your pain and loss and we accept that shade and are forever grateful to share that sacred space,” Gossard concludes. “The space created by the absence of those 9 young men.”

By Josh Johnson
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