Published Aug 31, 2015Over the weekend, British producer Evian Christ was billed to play Reading and Leeds, but following a run-in with security that left him locked in a cage at Leeds on Friday (August 28), the Warp signee's Reading appearance was cancelled.
Organizers of the UK sister festivals spoke to NME about the incident, which prompted an expanded explanation of events from Christ. Reading and Leeds' Melvin Benn said that the producer was found incoherent and intoxicated following his Leeds DJ set, with Christ alleging that security did not believe he was a festival performer.
"Evian was found in a not very good state in the woods, without being able or willing to disclose who he was," said Benn. "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."
Christ followed up the festival's response with a lengthy Facebook post detailing his detainment and interactions with the security staff, as well as his decision to cancel his Reading appearance "in an attempt to gain some leverage."
Christ also said that had the festival apologized for the incident, he would have happily played the second show, but two emails to organizers had still gone ignored by the time of his Facebook post on Sunday (August 30). You can read the full statement below.
was involved in a strange incident at leeds festival this weekend which ended up in me being detained inside a cage, as has been widely reported by everyone from quietus to lad bible. while i am grateful to have finally had my work acknowledged by lad bible, there are some things i need to address:
leeds fest, friday. after making sure blaze kidd + uli-k (who are performing with me) have got in a taxi home, i set about finding my own car so i can do the same. the artist car park is backstage and the festival layout is sprawling, so after being sent backwards and forwards by security staff i finally give up and ask one of them to call me a car to take me back there. the driver takes issue with me immediately and removes the pass im 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"). 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
we drive past the artists car park and i identify my car (in which i have family waiting, younger brother etc), the security ogre grunts and bizarrely proceeds to take me to some weird area with a cage.
i am detained in this cage and told that i am being held under suspicion of trying to "break into the festival without a ticket" - i remain here for a Very Long Time. the security guards seem to think i am there for their amusement, and a few times i am threatened with arrest by a police officer, once for saying "for fucks sake" into the distance, another time for "knocking a chair over". i am informed that i will remain detained in the cage indefinitely until i can prove beyond doubt that i am not trying to "break into the festival". i remind security/police they have removed the pass which i was presumably given for this explicit reason, and i suggest that my attempt to find the backstage carpark after DJing the radio 1 dance stage should be a sufficient indicator of my intentions. they respond that "anyone could have found [the pass] and stuck it on" (lol). later, i ask them to identify me photographically by googling by name, which i think is a good idea, but they have no interest in any potential solution and seem hellbent on winding me up to the point that i might snap and get myself arrested
at this point i only had a few percent battery so i managed to take a quick video, send some tweets, call my manager and DM brodinski who heroically tried to #free me to no avail. i "cancelled" reading in an attempt to gain some leverage in the situation but nobody around me gave a fuck anyway and seemed to think it was funny. over an hour afterwards i was set #free by a "more senior" member of the security staff who seemed as bemused as me by the situation. i asked for an apology and was not given one. thank you all for the #freeevian twitter campaign btw
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 an 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 im sorry melv, 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
as if this all wasn't ridiculous enough, yesterday i discovered that reading festival - too busy to respond to my emails trying to sort the situation out - thought it would be funny to create a cage behind the stage i was supposed to play on, labelling it as my backstage area. personally i didn't find this massively appropriate and overall i feel gutted to have had a terrible experience at a festival i attended twice as a kid and was really excited to play
we have big issues with regulation of police and private security services in the uk, nobody should be detained in a cage by an employer because they can't find their car. didnt really want to go into this much detail publicly and im absolutely fine, but when you see defamatory quotes flying around you kinda have to say something. anyway have a nice week fuck leeds fest