”It was so overwhelming that a young girl came to see her favorite band and left in a coma and died,” Fred Durst said yesterday. ”I’m very emotional right now talking about it, it’s taken me a long time to talk about this.” When Durst finally did talk about the death of a 15-year-old who was crushed during a Limp Bizkit performance last year in Australia, testifying Monday in an inquest, he blamed concert organizers for poor security, the Associated Press reports.
Testifying from Los Angeles via satellite for the inquest in Sydney, Durst recalled that, as part of the traveling rock festival Big Day Out that was touring Australia and New Zealand, he had warned promoters of security fears before the Sydney stop. After a crowd crush in Auckland, New Zealand, Durst said he told promoter Vivian Lees, ”I just hope the security’s better at the next show because that was a little out of hand.” He said yesterday, ”We definitely said that if they do not fix security we would not play.” The band did play in Sydney on January 26, 2001, where 15-year-old Jessica Michalchik was crushed and suffered a heart attack. She died five days later.
Durst testified for six hours, MTV News reports, including a cross-examination that voiced the concert organizers’ contention that Limp Bizkit had done nothing to prevent the melee and continued to play even after the musicians had been made aware of the incident. Durst said that Bizkit’s DJ Lethal did play a soft, computer-generated loop and said that this seemed to soothe the crowd.
The band has been blamed before for inciting concertgoers to violence, most notoriously at Woodstock ’99, where listeners seemed to take as a literal injunction the song ”Break Stuff,” leading to reports of vandalized property and a rape during their set. The Australian inquest could lead to criminal charges against whichever party or parties the Sydney coroner deems negligent.