British singer falls to his death at Belgian pop music festival

Frontman for Ou Est Le Swimming Pool climbed radio mast after earlier crowd-surfing accident

Pavan Amara
Saturday 22 October 2011 22:14

The lead singer of a British band has fallen to his death during a music festival in Belgium after climbing a telecommunications mast. Charles Haddon, frontman of electro-pop trio Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, was found on the ground behind the main stage at the Pukkelpop festival after playing on Friday afternoon.

Police are treating the death as suicide, district attorney Marc Rubens said. Haddon's family had been informed, said festival organisers, who posted the news on the festival website. They claimed that Haddon had jumped to his death, saying, "After performing with his band Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, singer Charles Haddon decided to take his own life."

Formerly a pupil at Rugby school in Warwickshire, Haddon moved to Camden in north London in 2008. There he met bandmates Caan Capan and Joel Hutchinson who already performed as a synth-pop duo after forming during secondary school French lessons.

By 2008, the trio signed with Stiff Records under the celebrated producer Trevor Horn, and were recording in Notting Hill's Sarm studios. This month they had played a series of European music events, finally performing at the three-day festival in Hasselt, eastern Belgium, shortly before Haddon climbed up the mast.

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool first tasted success in 2009 after Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw picked their single "Dance the Way I Feel" as his record of the week. Soon afterwards the single achieved gold status in Australia after selling more than 40,000 copies. The band supported chart-toppers La Roux on their 2009 UK tour, and were set to start a UK headline tour in October to coincide with the release of their debut album Christ Died for Our Synths. Last year they played at Glastonbury and Bestival, as well as this year's Global Gathering festival alongside acts such as Faithless and Dizzee Rascal. Last night they were due to play a sell-out gig at the Frequency festival in Austria.

On YouTube, fans discussed Haddon's mental state and reports that a girl in the crowd was seriously injured after all three band members suddenly jumped into the crowd. Commenting underneath a video of Haddon's final gig, one fan going by the user name "whatever" posted: "You can see that when he jumped into the crowd it was way too high, with too much of a run-up and not flat enough. He must have been seriously disoriented before he took that jump."

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool's latest single "Jackson's Last Stand" was released only three weeks ago, the NME praising the song for "brimming with passion".

Festival-goers also heard that on Thursday, Michael Been, the 60-year-old frontman of American band the Call, had died. He had apparently suffered a heart attack. A veteran of the music circuit,for this event he had been working as a soundman for his son's band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

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