Insurers are blaming the deaths and damage caused by a stage collapse at the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium last month on illegal music downloading.
Pukkelpop, according to its Wikipedia entry, is an annual music festival that’s been taking place near Hasselt, Belgium since 1985. And it’s not some hippie Belgian folk music thing that attracts a small crowd of local long-hairs and a half-dozen bored cops; bands who have appeared at the festival include the Ramones, Nirvana, Neil Young, Metallica, Guns n’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails and Iron Maiden, and the 2009 event attracted more than 180,000 people. Tragedy struck in 2011, however, as a severe storm on the first night knocked over tents, lighting towers and video screens and caused a stage to collapse, resulting in the deaths of five attendees and injuries to 70 more. The remainder of the concert was canceled.
But according to insurance companies, the real cause of the disaster wasn’t the storm. It was illegal music downloading.
I shit you not, and I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in because I think you’ll agree, it’s a pretty creative interpretation of the situation. Let me say it again: the insurance companies claim the disaster is the fault of illegal music downloading.
Here’s why. Millions of people around the world download music, typically without paying for it. That, naturally, has led to a dramatic fall-off in CD sales, forcing musical acts to rely much more on live performances to make their money. That means bigger festivals packed with more artists, attracting more people than ever before. And that means that when something does go wrong, as happened last month, the consequences are far more severe than they would have been a few years ago, when people were safely at home listening to their CDs.
It kind of makes sense if you look at it… well, no, who am I kidding, it makes no sense at all. It’s possibly the most bizarre bit of twisted logic I’ve ever run into; in fact, I manually entered the text of this image capture of the original article into Google translate just to make sure it’s not some sort of Onion-flavored irony. It is not. It is just sheer, unbridled ignorance and ridiculous spin. Hard to believe, but sadly true.