A man died at a Swell Season concert in Northern California on Thursday after jumping three stories from an amphitheater roof and landing onstage three feet from lead singer Glen Hansard. The death is being treated as an apparent suicide, Sgt. Rick Sung of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office told TheWrap. His name will not be disclosed unless the incident is ruled a homicide, police said.
The band was performing to an audience of roughly 1,900 people at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California, and was in between songs when the incident occurred at roughly 10 p.m. Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive the man as the band left the stage, Sgt. Sung said.
"Glen was joking about his new guitar player, poking fun at one of his songs when a body shot down from above and slammed downstage left," one witness told the paper. "The guy fell like a dead weight, not flailing, not screaming, just hitting the stage hard and bouncing from the impact. Even Glen didn't know what it was until he stood over it and realized a man had just launched himself from the top of the stone church-like building at the back of the stage."
It's not certain how the jumper accessed the roof of the amphitheater to make his jump, Chris Plunkett, a spokesperson for the winery, told TheWrap. The winery said they were participating with authorities in the investigation.
A YouTube video shows part of the scene.
A similar incident occurred at a Phish concert at Jones Beach in New York on Wednesday, where a 25-year-old man dove headfirst off a balcony at the beachside amphitheater during a set break, landing with a “sickening thud.” He hit the seats 25 feet below, but no other concertgoers were hurt.
"I was sitting two rows behind from where he hit,” a witness told the Village Voice. “He hit a chair and he broke the back of another chair. There was blood everywhere." Another witness said “he didn't fall — it was intentional.”
That man was airlifted to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was in critical condition on Thursday.
It’s just more bad news for the music industry, which is having a brutal summer in terms of ticket sales.
Live Nation has been trying to fill seats with “fire-sale prices.” The Lilith Fair Tour was forced to cancel 10 dates on its tour; Christina Aguilera cancelled a 20-date run; Rihanna was forced to postpone six dates on her “Last Girl on Earth” tour; the Eagles were forced to cancel some shows; and even the Jonas Brothers called off dates as arenas and amphitheaters were left empty.
Swell Season posted a statement on its Facebook page: "The band, crew and all involved with them are shocked and saddened by the death that occurred at last night’s show. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the deceased, his family and friends.”
The band is best known for starring in the Oscar nominated 2007 film "Once." Formerly known as the Paul Masson Winery, the Mountain Winery's annual summer concert series attracts artists such as the Beach Boys, Ringo Starr and Aimee Mann.
Despite Thursday's apparent suicide, the winery said there were no plans to refund tickets to the concert and there will be no change to its summer concert schedule. The winery is scheduled to host "Hippiefest" with Jack Bruce of Cream on Friday night, according to its website.