Band Pays for Counseling for Fans Who Witnessed On-Stage Suicide

Concert attendee jumped to his death during show last week

Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010  |  Updated 2:30 PM PDT
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Band Pays for Counseling for Fans Who Witnessed On-Stage Suicide

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Swell Season reaches out to fans who watched as an audience member leaped to his death during a show in the South Bay last week.

The band The Swell Season is paying for grief counseling sessions for hundreds of music fans who watched in horror as a man jumped to his death during a Bay Area concert last week.

As the musicians finished performing a song, 32-year-old Michael Pickels jumped from a roof covering the outdoor stage in an apparent suicide. Pickels landed near lead singer Glen Hansard, who's known for his role in the 2006 movie "Once."

Swell Season posted a statement on their website about the incident and its emotional impact on the band, their crew and members of the audience. In the statement, they say band members and their crew have sought treatment to help them cope with the tragedy. They also thanked the public for their support. Here's a segment of that statement:

While we likely will never gain the answers we need, what we did get out of the conversations were of great service to our mind, body and soul. In regards to coping with what we witnessed it was a step in the right direction. We have come to realize that some of those in attendance may be in need of similar counseling and may not be receiving it. Our hearts go out to you and we want to encourage you to talk to someone who has experience in these types of matters.

An estimated 1,900 people attended the group's show on Aug. 19 at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga.

A spokeswoman for Palo Alto-based Kara counseling center, Stephanie Demof, said Wednesday the band has promised to pay an undisclosed amount of money for four group counseling sessions.

Pickels was free on bail and facing domestic volence charges after allegedly threatening his girlfriend.

The grief counseling services will be free to any audience members.

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