Artist News Gigs & Festivals

Evian Christ denies being drunk and incoherent at Leeds festival, after being caged by security staff

By | Published on Tuesday 1 September 2015

Evian Christ

Evian Christ has denied claims that he was drunk and incoherent at this weekend’s Leeds Festival, allegations that resulted in the producer being detained by security and the cancellation of his planned Reading Festival performance.

Following his DJ set on the BBC Radio One Dance Stage at the Leeds Festival site on Friday, the musician tweeted a short video from inside a makeshift cage surrounded by security staff, adding the message: “Reading fest cancelled (sorry) cuz Leeds put me in a cage #freeevian”.

Commenting on the situation on Sunday, when Evian Christ was due to play Reading, festival organiser Melvin Benn told NME: “Evian was found in a not very good state in the woods, without being able or willing to disclose who he was. He was effectively held till we knew who he was. He certainly wasn’t prevented from performing under any circumstances. It was his decision not to perform, not the festival’s”.

Hudson Mohawke also tweeted a picture of a cage backstage at Reading that had been denoted as Evian Christ’s dressing room, making light of the situation.

Evian Christ, however, did not find any of this funny, and disputed Benn’s version of events in a lengthy statement on Facebook yesterday. He wrote that, struggling to find the artists’ car park after his set, he asked a member of staff to drive him there.

“[The security guard] takes issue with me immediately and removes the pass I’m wearing that identifies me as a performing artist, asks my name (“Joshua Leary”) and then tells me that my pass says something different (“Evian Christ”)”, he explained. “I inform him that Evian Christ is my artist name, and that I also have a real name, but he appears unsatisfied by this explanation and keeps the pass”.

He was then held on suspicion of “trying to break into the festival without a ticket” before eventually being released by a senior member of security staff “who seemed as bemused as me by the situation”.

Commenting specifically on Benn’s version of events, the producer wrote: “I haven’t wanted to go into this much detail until now, because if the festival had emailed me a simple apology I would actually have happily played Reading. But I’ve sent two detailed emails to the festival organisers since Friday and have received no response. Last night, however, festival owner Melvin Benn found a moment in his busy schedule of being a top-class dickhead to claim via the NME that I was ‘intoxicated and refusing to identify myself’. Even if that were true (it isn’t), there’s likely a better way to deal with that situation than to physically detain someone who isn’t actually legally under arrest for anything”.

“So I’m sorry Melv”, he went on. “You weren’t there mate, I was. I’d had a few drinks as I always do at a show (your festival provided them) but I was fine and your security staff removed the only form of identification given to me after I provided them with it. Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at a DJ they locked in a cage”.