Metal

Slash Recalls The Tragic Guns N’ Roses Show Caused Two Fans’ Death

The iconic guitarist Slash remembered the time when two fans were trampled to death at a Guns N’ Roses show during an interview by Kerrang!.

33 years ago, on August 20, 1988, Guns N’ Roses were performing at Castle Donington in England during the Monsters Of Rock Festival. Following the German band Helloween, Guns N’ Roses went onto the stage. Upon their appearance, fans tried to push forward towards the stage to see the legendary band better. Although the band stopped the show three times during the chaos, two fans fell and were crushed to death by the others.

As the gig was filled with a record crowd of 107,000, no one was aware of the deaths. Despite Axl Rose yelling ‘don’t fucking kill each other’ to the crowd and telling them to move back, it was only after the end of the show that they found out about the tragic incidents. Guns N’ Roses were devastated, yet some sources blamed them for inciting violence. After the incident, the band attempted to perform to a smaller audience.

Speaking to Kerrang!, the band’s guitarist Slash recalled the tragedy that took place in 1998. He said that the crowd was massive which came as a huge shock as he didn’t have any great expectations. Slash continued by saying that they had a 40-minute set and the band went to a bar afterward.

According to Slash, he ran into their tour manager at the bar and that was the time he found out about the tragic deaths of two fans. He then described his feelings as a bizarre shift from complete euphoria to a depressed state. 

Talking about the Donington gig in 1988, Slash told Kerrang! that:

“I didn’t really know Monsters Of Rock, which was what they called the Donington event back then. We got the gig and helicoptered out to soundcheck and it didn’t sound all that great. So I remember not being all that into it. Then the next day we go up there and I didn’t really have any expectations, but there were a lot of fucking people. The reaction the second we walked out on stage was unbelievable. So we had this amazing 40-minute set, or whatever it was, and it was really a huge high point.

Then afterward, we went to this bar, drinking – this little hotel we were at – I don’t remember if we were sleeping there, or why we were there, but there were tons of kids there and it was a scene in itself. I ran into our tour manager at the bar and he was crying. That’s when I found out that two kids had been trampled to death when we were playing. There was a bizarre shift from complete euphoria to going to this depressed state. The positive memory of the gig got washed away. It was heavy.

Guns N’ Roses’ Donington appearance marks itself as a moment of tragedy in hard rock history. As it appears, the heartbreaking death of the two young fans is still saddening the band.

Elif Ozden