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Crowd crush outside AR Rahman concert

Thousands of ticketholders weren't permitted entry to the concert in India, leading to a "stampede-like" situation

By Lisa Henderson on 15 Sep 2023

image © Bollywood Hungama

Chaos ensued at a concert by Indian star AR Rahman after thousands of ticketholders weren’t permitted entry to the venue, leading to a “stampede-like” situation.

The incident happened on Sunday (10 September) night at the Adityaram Palace City (cap. 25,000) in Chennai’s Paniyur, India.

Many fans claimed they weren’t allowed entry into the venue despite having valid tickets for the gig, while some women have said they were sexually harassed in a crush outside the venue.

Local reports claimed the concert was massively oversold but promoter ACTC Events rebutted the allegations, adding that the incident happened due to ticket duplication and overcrowding. Further claims contend there was no VIP section despite hospitality packages sold for around $500.

In an interview with The Hindu, AR Rahman said: “The organisers [ACTC events] had put together about 46,000 chairs in the venue. In some sections, everybody sat on one side and didn’t move to the other side. Seeing this, the policemen on duty assumed that the venue was full and closed it. By this time, the show had already started inside.”

“In some sections, everybody sat on one side and didn’t move to the other side”

ACTC Events CEO Hemanth Raja shared a video on the company’s Instagram page, in which he accepted “full responsibility” for the fiasco.

“Our goal was to guarantee an unforgettable night of Rahman sir’s songs for his fans. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, many couldn’t access the venue. We accept full responsibility for this and are accountable.”

He also said that the company would provide refunds to those who bought tickets but couldn’t attend the show and urged them to get in touch.

Grammy Award-winning Rahman promised on Twitter to refund the tickets of those who could not reach the venue.

“Right now, we are just terribly disturbed,” Rahman added in the interview. “Safety was the primary issue, especially because there were women and kids. I don’t want to point fingers at anyone, but we have to realise that the city is expanding, and the passion to consume music and art is also expanding.”


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