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Eminem criticised for gunshot sounds in Bonnaroo festival set

By | Published on Monday 11 June 2018


Eminem has been criticised for using a gunshot effect during his headline set at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee.

As the rapper performed his 2000 track ‘Kill You’, a series of loud gunshot-like bangs rang out. After various videos of the performance shared on social networks were picked up by the media, a spokesperson for Eminem denied that gunshot effects had been used.

“Contrary to inaccurate reports, Eminem does not use gunshot sound effects during his live show”, said the statement. “The effect used by Eminem in his set at Bonnaroo was a pyrotechnic concussion which creates a loud boom. He has used this effect – as have hundreds other artists – in his live show for over ten years, including previous US festival dates in 2018 without complaint”.

While this pyrotechnic effect – which may not technically be a gunshot sound effect, but is designed to sound like one – has been part of Eminem’s show for more than a decade, after last year’s Route 91 festival shooting in Las Vegas – in which 58 people were killed and hundreds injured – open air festival audiences are somewhat more jumpy.

Opinion about the ongoing use of the effect was divided on social media (because, obviously) but many criticised the rapper for continuing to use it in the wake of last year’s Vegas attack. And to do so seemingly without warning.

YouTuber Andrea Russett, who attended the performance, tweeted: “To hear a gun shot sound effect and see the entire crowd drop to the floor out of instinct is not funny, cute, or amusing. This is the sad reality that we are living. This is not funny or even something to be joked about”.

Earlier this month, punk band NOFX issued an apology after making jokes about the Route 91 Harvest shooting at another festival in Las Vegas.

“What NOFX said in Vegas was shameful”, they said. “We crossed the line of civility. We can’t write songs about how people in this world need to be more decent, when we were clearly being indecent. Las Vegas has always been a welcoming city to our band, and to make light of the tragedy that occurred there was egregious”.