- Associated Press - Friday, August 20, 2010

SARATOGA, CALIF. (AP) - A 32-year-old man jumped at least 20 feet to his death onto the stage of a Northern California concert in front of hundreds of horrified music fans, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

The Swell Season was playing an outdoor show at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga in front of a crowd of about 1,900 when Michael Edward Pickels of San Jose jumped Thursday night.

Authorities are treating Pickels’ death as a suicide, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Rick Sung said.

Sung said the man left a friend in the audience around 10 p.m. and soon appeared on a roof that covers the stage. Witnesses say he jumped off the roof and landed on stage near the band’s lead singer, Glen Hansard.

Witnesses said Hansard removed his guitar and walked over to the man’s body.

The jumper was pronounced dead by a doctor in attendance who spent an hour trying to revive him.

The band extended its sympathies in a MySpace post Friday.

“Our hearts go out to the victim who decided to take his own life at last night’s gig … and to his friends and family,” the statement said.

Hansard and singer-songwriter Marketa Irglova are known in part for the alt-rock band’s role in the 2006 movie “Once.” The group wrote and performed the movie’s theme song, “Falling Slowly,” which won the Academy Award for best original song.

Promoter Live Nation said it would not change its concert schedule.

“We have ample security in place and trained safety staff at every concert and we are committed to ensuring the safety of all who come to Mountain Winery,” the group said in a statement. “At the same time, we are working with the local authorities in investigating this tragic incident.”



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