Danish court rejects claim of liability against the Roskilde Festival

January 2006

Live event industry

A claim to apportion blame after the tragedy at the Roskilde Fetsival in 2000 has been rejected by the High Court for Eastern Denmark. The court rejected the request from Finn and Eunice Tonnenson, parents of 17 year old Allan Tonnesen, one of the nine young people who were killed during a Pearl Jam performance. Tonnesen’s parents had claimed that the organisers of the Roskilde Festival had accepted responsibility for the tragedy by making an $11,000 payment to families. However the court ruled that effectively no one person or organisation was to blame. Two previous investigations by the local police and later the Public Prosecutor (District Attorney) for Zealand had concluded that the accident was the result of several unfortunate circumstances and no one was to be held responsible. The initial police investigation, based on 977 interviews with band members, organisers and rescue workers said that the deaths occurred because of “a chain of unfortunate circumstances”, but placed most of the blame on the 50,000 crowd. It found that poor sound in the back caused fans to surge toward the stage and the tragedy was compounded by confusion over who should stop the music. It is understood that the Tonnesens are considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.





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