EVANESCENCE’s AMY LEE Looks Back On KNOTFEST MEETS FORCEFEST Debacle: ‘We Were So Devastated’
EVANESCENCE singer Amy Lee has spoken out about the «safety» issue that caused the cancelation of the band’s appearance at the Knotfest Meets Forcefest in Mexico City in November 2019. According to reports, the stage barricade broke during BEHEMOTH‘s set and it was impossible to fix it in time for either of the two scheduled closers — SLIPKNOT and EVANESCENCE — to perform. Some fans at the festival reacted angrily at the cancelation, storming the stage and destroying equipment, including EVANESCENCE‘s gear. A viral video from Knotfest captured several incidents of vandalism, including fans storming the stage, grabbing EVANESCENCE drummer Will Hunt‘s drum kit and then lighting it on fire.
«We were so devastated — before anything caught fire,» Amy told Cuartel Del Metal in a new interview (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). «It was just so heartbreaking to have come all the way there. We love Mexico; it’s like a special treat [to go there]. We had Thanksgiving here [in the U.S.]; it’s like a big holiday in America. So we all were home with our families for Thanksgiving, and then the very next morning all got on planes and were going to Mexico and really excited for the show. And it takes a lot of work to set it up. We rehearsed for, like, a week. We had this whole thing planned. We were gonna play [our cover of FLEETWOOD MAC‘s] ‘The Chain’ for the first time — everything. And then to be there all dressed and ready to go, and to see the situation just not happen… The barricades weren’t secure. The fans were excited, and the more people move, as the night goes on, the more the barricades were coming apart and they were hurting people. If we came out there, it would have hurt people.
«It’s a matter of safety,» she explained. «You always have to make that right choice when you’re bringing thousands of people together. There’s an element of that. It was just a really hard thing to sit there for hours, hoping they could fix the situation, waiting to go on and then have to know that they couldn’t do it, and to drive away and see all of our stuff and all those people… We drove past as all the people were hearing the announcement that we weren’t gonna make it, and they were just standing there and listening, and you could see our set, and it was, like, ready to go. It was heartbreaking. And then later, of course, there was a riot — way, way, way later on in the night — and stuff got burned. That sucked too. But we were never angry at our fans. I hope they all know how much we love them… It was just a horrible situation.»
Amy added: «And that was our last show [before the pandemic] — like, we didn’t play it. And it turned out to be the beginning of such a weird time for us. It was just very much like nothing that we’ve ever been through before. It was very fitting, actually. It set up how 2020 was gonna be. [Laughs]»
Lee went on to say that EVANESCENCE is «ready» to return to Mexico and play for its fans. «Mexico has, from that moment, been very much at the top of the list of where we have to hit as soon as possible so we can make it up to ’em,» she said. «We can’t wait to see you again. We’re just dying to play. Now when we come down, we’ll have a whole new album of music to play, so it’s just gonna be even better.»
The first-ever Knotfest Meets Forcefest was slated to be held over two days at the Parque Deportivo Oceanía venue. In 2019, Knotfest joined forces with Forcefest, combining two massive festival brands over one weekend. The Knotfest day was scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 30, 2019 with Forcefest happening on Sunday, December 1, 2019, headlined by Rob Zombie.
Knotfest is the brainchild of SLIPKNOT and the band’s longtime manager, Cory Brennan of 5B Artists And Media.
One day after EVANESCENCE‘s canceled appearance at Knotfest Meets Forcefest, Hunt said that «a small group of morons» was responsible for the riot that ensued at the event. He added that he and his bandmates «love Mexico and, as a whole, the fans [there] are incredible.»
In a February 2020 interview with Germany’s Rock Antenne, SLIPKNOT frontman Corey Taylor stated about the Mexico City debacle: «The barricades were compromised. And breaking in — there were so many people that it was an absolute security issue. And they tried to fix it — I can’t even talk about it without rolling my fucking eyes — they tried to fix it with, like, bike racks. It was fucking insane. They were, like, trying to wire bike racks to this thing. You go hold 25 thousand people back with some bike racks. Are you fucking shitting me? Our production manager, our security team took a look at it and said, ‘I cannot sign off on this’ — for the public’s safety.
«We still don’t know what happened,» Corey continued. «We still don’t know why it was compromised, because our security team walks that all day long to make sure everything is in place. And it was compromised in a way that someone had to have done it. But we don’t know who, so, obviously, we can’t point fingers or whatnot. But there was no way that we were gonna put our fans at risk, the security team at risk and EVANESCENCE at risk, because they were going on.»