COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ Fans at an outdoor rock concert packed closer and closer to the stage where Pearl Jam was playing, ending in a crush that killed eight people and injured three more.

The grounds at the annual Roskilde festival were muddy from an all-day rain Friday. The victims, all men, slipped or fell in front of the stage and were trampled to death, police said.

The crush occurred shortly before midnight, as Pearl Jam was playing on the main stage before a crowd of about 50,000 people.

``Things were really great and we wanted to move up,'' festival-goer Lasse Aagaard told the TV2 channel Saturday morning.

``The pressure from behind was too great,'' added Holger Hougaard, another fan who was up front.

The band asked the crowd to move back, and halted the performance when that didn't happen.

``This is so painful. I think we are all waiting for someone to wake us and say it was just a horrible nightmare,'' Pearl Jam said in a statement Saturday. ``There are absolutely no words to express our anguish in regard to the parents and loved ones of those precious lives that were lost.''

One victim was identified as a 17-year-old Dane, but police declined to release his name pending identification of relatives, said Mogens Soerensen of the Roskilde police.

``Everybody at the festival is deeply concerned and wish to express their sympathy to the relatives,'' festival spokesman Leif Skov said.

After the stampede, the next main-stage show by the British band The Cure was canceled in ``respect for the dead,'' Skov said. The deaths were announced over loudspeakers and some concert-goers began crying and others lit candles, Danish media reported.

``The festival is expected to continue'' to its Sunday conclusion, Skov said, ``with the deepest respect for the perished. Life is stronger than death.''

The festival featured 170 performers including Lou Reed, Willie Nelson, Iron Maiden and the Pet Shop Boys.

The Roskilde festival, first held in 1971, was inspired by the 1969 Woodstock Festival in upstate New York. It is held annually on a farm in Roskilde, 25 miles west of the capital, Copenhagen.

The event, which in recent years has appeared on MTV, attracts visitors from most of northern Europe.

Last year, 52 people were killed after a rock concert in Minsk, Belarus, when a hailstorm hit and hundreds of fans rushed for a nearby subway station. In 1979, 11 people were trampled to death in Cincinnati as they rushed for choice seats before the start of a concert by the British rock band The Who.