THE Asean Music Festival, one of the highlights of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, was cancelled on Tuesday night for “reasons of public safety,” a police official said, quoting organizers.
Southern Police District Chief Superintendent Tomas Apolinario said the National Organizing Council called off the concert after the crowd became unruly and some of the concertgoers had fainted.
“For reasons of public safety, the organizers have decided to stop the show. As of now people are already slowly leaving the venue to go home. The organizers are very sorry for the inconvenience,” Apolinario read from a statement issued by organizers.
The free concert was staged to highlight cross-cultural exchange in the form of music performances from the 10 member-countries.
Filipino alternative, indie, and modern rock acts Parokya Ni Edgar, Franco, Silent Sanctuary, The Ransom Collective and Sandwich headlined the Filipino line-up.
Southeast Asian artists D-Hask (Brunei), Chhith Sovann Nimith (Cambodia), Chamroeun Sophea (Cambodia), Mia Ismi Halida (Indonesia), Sack Cells (Laos), Nading Rhapsody (Malaysia), Eint Chit (Myanmar), Asia 7 (Thailand), and Tran Thieu Anh Tuan (Vietnam) were also set to perform in the show.
Parokya ni Edgar was performing on stage when the decision was made to discontinue the live production as concertgoers began pushing their way to get nearer to the front.
Those who were injured were given first aid treatment or rushed to the hospital.
Local artists react
Chito Miranda, Parokya ni Edgar’s lead vocalist, expressed his disappointment on Twitter shortly after the concert was cancelled.
“Di daw kasi nila [National Organizing Council] ine-expect na ganun kadami ang pupunta kaya di nila napaghandaan ng maayos. Buti na lang walang major injuries,” Miranda wrote.
“Sana next time hindi na ma-underestimate kung gaano kabuhay ang local music scene… May this serve as a lesson na maging mas handa next time. Long live OPM!” the front man further said.
Superband Franco also took to Twitter to express its reaction over the incident.
“Thanks to everyone who came by at the ASEAN Music Fest last night for the gig. We’re sorry that it had to be cancelled but public security is always top priority. Stay safe!” read @francomusicph.
According to Sandwich’s lead vocalist Raymund Marasigan who was scheduled to perform after Parokya ni Edgar, the show was stalled after some people started standing on the provided monoblock chairs.
“The show is stalled because people are standing on seats. IMHO [In my honest opinion], monoblocks in shows with rock bands don’t usually go well together,” Marasigan wrote.
Despite its disappointment, Indie-folk band The Ransom Collective expressed that the artists understood the organizer’s decision as he posted on Twitter, “The organizers worked hard to make this event happen but they chose to prioritize the safety of everyone instead. It was a tough decision but all the artists understand. We all just want to support #ASEAN2017.”
Around 15,000 concertgoers showed up at the free concert at Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City. CHRISTINA ALPAD/ KAROL JOSEF LUCENA