One of the world's largest and longest-running annual music festivals, Belgium's Pukkelpop Festival enjoyed its 24th year earlier this month. The line-up included amazing acts like Dinosaur Jr., Grizzly Bear, Fennesz, Black Lips and even 50 Cent. According to Gang Gang Dance, however, what the fest didn't have was decent security guards.
According to Gang Gang Dance's publicist [via Pitchfork], a handful of security guards attacked and physically assaulted Jesse Lee, drummer for the experimental dub group, when he was trying to access the backstage area on Saturday (August 22). The security guards allegedly threw Lee to the ground and tried to break his arms while hurling insults at the drummer and trying to show him "what real pain is."
Here's the full statement, released from Gang Gang Dance's publicist:
On Saturday night at Pukkelpop as the festival was coming to a close Jesse was singled out and attacked by three security guards as he was attempting to walk to the artist backstage area to get the shuttle to the hotel. Security denied him access although he was clearly wearing an artists wristband and immediately dragged him to a darkened area that was not on the close circuit TV network and forced him face first into the ground, they then pulled his arms behind stamping on them trying to break both arms whilst repeatedly shouting at him, "We are going to show you what real pain is." They handcuffed him and continued the unprovoked beating. The three thugs then took Jesse to the police where they accused him of throwing a bottle at them. Jesse was drinking from a plastic cup, as you have to decant any drinks on entrance to the main arena. I was with him only moments before the attack so can confirm this. I went to the toilet which is why I was not with him at the time of attack unfortunately.
Jesse was happy to be taken to the police for his own safety and was driven to the station where he was told not to make a scene or a formal complaint. He spent 45 minutes with the police, who gave him a lift back to the hotel.
Jesse sustained injuries to the head, a large bump and bruising, and multiple bruising to the body. This made it painful and difficult to play the following days show. He was badly shaken up and it marred what was a wonderful performance and day for the band. Up until that point we were all saying how brilliant the festival was.
It's a shame the actions of three security guards have put Gang Gang and Pukkelpop through this.
Representatives from the Pukkelpop Festival have yet to comment on the matter. Gang Gang Dance currently have a string of West coast dates slated for early September, including a Canadian stop in Vancouver. As of right now, the shows are still happening.
8/28 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *
8/29 Big Sur, CA - Henry Miller Memorial Library *
8/30 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop *$
9/1 Sacramento, CA - Harlow's
9/2 Arcata, CA - Depot
9/3 Portland, OR - The Works at Washington High School
9/4 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret
9/5 Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot Festival
* with Ariel Pink
$ with Amanda Blank