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Woodstock Festival responds to Prodigy statement

By | Published on Friday 12 August 2011

The Prodigy

The organiser of the Woodstock Festival in Poland, Jurek Owsiak, has responded to a statement released earlier this weekend by The Prodigy. The band’s statement was a response to Owsiak’s claims that the band had acted in an “unsafe” and “unprofessional” manner when they appeared at the festival last weekend.

As previously reported, the band said that they had arrived at the festival to find that there was no safety barrier in front of the stage. They said that not only did this contravene their contract, but it broke YOUROPE rules. A last minute barrier was put in place at the insistence of the band and their management, but, they said, this still did not meet safety regulations. According to their statement, Owsiak then “insinuated in the media” that the barrier had been put there because the Prodigy wanted fans kept away from them, and that they subsequently “fled the site” quickly under police escort because they thought “their barrier” had caused injuries, and didn’t want to stick around to find out for certain.

In response, Owsiak has said: “For many years, [my] festival has been considered a model when it comes to providing safety for such a big mass event. The floor of the stage is located 3.5 meters above ground. The elements which make it difficult to move or which create the risk of somebody being squashed or trampled have been reduced to a minimum. The audience is lit all the time, which makes it possible to monitor the situation constantly and react to any safety threat immediately”.

He continued: “Also the model of cooperation between all kinds of services working to provide safety at the event is assessed to be impeccable. Those services include suitably trained volunteers, a security agency, medical services, Government Security Bureau, border guard, firefighters, various police units (intelligence police units, police psychologists and negotiators, riot police, traffic police, an antiterrorist brigade and a pyrotechnic unit) and a police helicopter. What the organiser thinks has happened is there has been a misunderstanding between the organiser and [the band’s team]”.

He added: “No extraordinary situations took place during Woodstock Festival Poland. Admittedly, some people fainted and there were some minor injuries but this could happen in any other situation too … Nobody was really injured. Nobody died. The attendees of Woodstock Festival Poland are safe, and they went home happy. Only a nasty aftertaste is left in them, of a pretentious attitude of an artist”.

I think it’s safe to say, The Prodigy won’t be playing Woodstock again. And Christmas cards are probably out of the question, too.