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Fake-ticket holders force entry into Pakistan’s Solis fest

The organisers of Solis festival in Islamabad, Pakistan, brought the event to a close on Saturday (15 February), as “hundreds” of individuals with fake tickets “fought their way” into the venue.

Solis Music and Arts Festival, which has run for three previous editions, was due to feature electronic acts including Dannic, Mike Williams, Julian James and Fdvm at the 1,000-capacity Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).

However, the event was called off after audience members climbed onto a VIP stage, causing it to collapse. Organisers claimed the culprits were fake-ticket holders, who had stormed the venue after being denied entry.

“We chose the venue and our security based on the number of tickets sold and made arrangements based on this,” stated organisers.

“We warned against fake tickets on numerous occasions. However, we underestimated the sheer volume of thousands of “fake tickets” that were being sold illegally.

“These people were denied entry, but broke our barricades and forced themselves in”

“These people were denied entry, but broke our barricades and forced themselves in, climbing on VIP platforms which couldn’t take the weight and destroyed our stage putting everyone’s safety at risk.”

Many on social media have criticised festival organisers, citing “mismanagement” and a “lack of security”. Some audience members reported incidents of sexual harassment and assault following the stage collapse.

An inquiry is now underway to determine what happened at the event, with Deputy Commissioner for Islamabad, Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat, stating that the festival organisers “will not be allowed any future event in Islamabad”.

Organisers, on the other hand, state that the incident will not prevent the event from going ahead in Islamabad in the coming years, saying: “We will learn and persevere and keep giving Pakistan an experience they haven’t had before, much like we have done in the past.”

 


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Five killed in Algerian rap concert crush

A stampede at a concert by Algerian rapper Soolking in Algiers has left five dead and many more injured, reports local news outlet TSA Algerie.

Soolking, real name Abderraouf Derradji, was performing at the August 20, 1955 stadium in the Algerian capital last night (22 August), which has a seated capacity of 10,000. Reports estimate attendance to have been between 25,000 and 30,000.

According to Algerian journalist Akram Kharief, “four small entrances” were serving the concert. “This caused a stampede and people fell as they pushed to get inside before the start of the concert,” Kharief told reporters.

“There were so many people at the concert, that I’m not surprised an accident happened”

Journalist Linda Chebbah, who was at the concert, told BBC’s Newsday that “there were way too many people for this stadium.”

“On the pitch, people were jostling for space. There were so many people at the concert, that I’m not surprised an accident happened,” said Chebbah.

The concert went ahead as planned following the incident, with a 30-minute delay, and was broadcast live on Canal Algérie. Derradji has yet to comment on the incident.

Industry experts from around the world will discuss ways to ensure safety at live events, including effective crowd management techniques, at the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) on 8 October.

 


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Hallowe’en festival shut down after crowd surge

A Hallowe’en-themed music festival in the English city of Nottingham was called off early on Saturday night after fence breaches led to dangerous overcrowding.

Detonate Halloween, at Nottingham Racecourse, ended at around 20.30 – three hours early – on the advice of the festival’s health and safety officer and Nottinghamshire police, cancelling or cutting short sets by Kano, New York Transit Authority, Kurupt FM, Andy C, TQD and The Prototypes and 2Shy. A sister event at the O2 Academy in Sheffield went ahead as planned.

In a statement, promoter Detonate says: “We are truly gutted that an event which we’ve been working on for the last six months ended the way it did. We’d like to thank everyone for leaving the site in a calm, orderly way.

“The safety issue was due to the majority of people wanting to be in one tent, which caused large queues. When some of the surrounding fence was breached and crowds surged, action had to be taken to avoid people being injured.

“Closing just one tent wasn’t an option, as it would have caused the same issues at other arenas. We had no choice but to start a phased closure of the site”

“Flow of people is estimated based on capacities of each area; popularity of the acts which are on at the same time in each arena; and dynamic assessments on the day. We surveyed our ticketholders in the lead up to the event by asking them which acts they most wanted to see, and used this data to programme set times. Queuing systems were in place to prevent any one tent becoming overcrowded.

“In the case of The Boneyard [tent], this meant that people inside didn’t leave, even when relatively small acts were on, as they could see it would take a while to get back in. As a result, there was very little flow of people in and out of that arena and long queues of people who were rightfully frustrated by not being allowed inside the tent. When this situation worsened and started to pose a risk to people’s safety, the music was switched off. Closing just one tent wasn’t an option as it would have caused the same issues at other arenas. From then on we had no choice but to start a phased closure of the site.”

Detonate is currently offering refunds on drinks vouchers. Regarding ticket refunds, it says it is “working out how we can compensate people, and will update very soon”.

 


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