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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Pakistani artists not welcome in India, says political party
A spokesman for extremist Indian political party Shiv Sena has said artists from Pakistan aren’t welcome in India after its activists were been spotted tearing down posters for an upcoming concert by Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Ali Khan (pictured), a performer of qawwali devotional music, is scheduled to play in the city of Ahmedabad on 30 April.
Shiva Sena – an ultranationalist party with a significant presence in the Maharashtrian regional assembly, as well as in India’s national parliament, where it has ministers in government – also led protests on Friday against a concert by another Pakistani artist, Ghulam Ali.
“We will attack all [Pakistani] artists if they come. We will tear down all posters of them”
“There is a problem of drought here,” said the Shiv Sena spokesman. “There are so many problems in the country [India]. It is very condemnable that in such a situation Pakistani artists are coming,” he said.
“The Shiv Sena” – which translates as ‘Army of Shiva’ – “is opposed to Pakistani artists coming to India. The people, who are business-concerned, are calling these artists for their motives. We will attack all artists if they come. We will tear all posters of him.”
Ali Khan will perform at The O2, the world’s most successful arena, on 14 August.