It was a dream-come-true event for the rock music lovers in India. After years of waiting, Metallica was coming to the land of art and culture. They were all set to perform live in two major cities in India, in the month of October. Delhi concert was scheduled on October 28 at the opening ceremony of Formula One Grand Prix and Bangalore concert was slated two days later on October 30 at Palace Grounds. Excitement was palpable with the announcement of ticket availability from July 3.
Everything was planned. Marketing campaigns for the shows were going speedily. DNA Entertainment Networks Pvt. Ltd. was the official promoter of the shows. Tickets for the concerts were priced ranging from Rs 1650 to Rs 2750. But the concert timetable did not turn out as expected.
All of a sudden, Delhi concert was declared ‘canceled’ on Friday October 28, the day scheduled for Metallica’s first India concert. In a statement given to NDTV India, Metallica told that as soon as they finished with the press conference at their hotel, they learned that there was a serious question mark on the fate of the show. And the reason was cited as ‘safety of concert audience’. They confirmed the news with DNA, who took the decision to postpone the concert until Saturday. But unfortunately for the promoters and of course for the audience, DNA could not manage permits for another concert in Gurgaon, Delhi. So, the concert was called off.
It was less than two hours before Metallica was about to take the stage. Nearly 25,000 fans turned out at Gurgaon Sector 29’s Leisure Valley Park, when DNA announced the postponement, followed by the cancellation of the concert. People turned to different social networking channels to show their rage and at the same time lodged complaints against the organizer for citing no good reason before scrapping the concert. Right after the show was canceled, four executives of DNA including the operation head of the organization, Rajesh Chandwani, were arrested. The Gurgaon police reported that they had received plenty of complaints against these four people.
The organizers guaranteed that the ticket holders for Delhi concert would be refunded. As promised, they published the process of full refunds within 24 hours.
After the Delhi debacle, it was Bangalore’s turn. When everyone was speculating the fate of Bangalore-concert ticket holders, keeping the last Friday fiasco in mind, India finally got the first taste of the heavy metal band, live on Sunday at Palace Grounds. More than 34,000 tickets were sold. And the city was pounded by the four-member rock band for over one hour.
How did the Bangalore concert go? According to the spectators, the show was just awesome, however, it would have turned even more successful, hadn’t some fans lost their precious belongings like MP3 players, iPhones, laptops, etc. at the concert venue.
How? Well, the visitors were not allowed to carry anything with them inside the venue. Those, who came from other cities and states, were forced to leave their backpacks at the baggage counter. Only there was no baggage counter! About a 100 unlucky fans, were forced to leave their backpacks in the open-ground, which served as a mock counter, with no protection or cover. Also there were no tokens, no security, or no records for the backpacks. A lot of them unwillingly left their bags there, having no other choice. Show over, when they came to collect their belongings, to their horror, everything was drenched in rain, and most were ransacked by the locals and kids. (You can read the entire story here, narrated by an eyewitness.)
In answer to the victim’s complaints of mismanagement, on various social media platforms, DNA representative Hrish Dhempe Thota wrote a Facebook note. He reasoned that spectators were asked not to carry anything at the venue and if some people carried their valuables and lost them at the venue, organizers should not be blamed.
Secondly, those who secured their tickets in the last few weeks, faced another problem. Not only that their tickets were not dispatched on time, but they also were compelled to come to the venue in order to collect their tickets. As a consequence, these fans were forced to stand at least for 3 hours in the queue to get their entry passes, before the concert. To this complaint, Thota wrote in his note, “Agreed DNA and TicketGenie screwed up in giving the tickets at the counter for people whose couriers returned and who wanted to redeem their e-tickets. In fact I was in the queue the day before to collect some e-tickets and I had to fight myself through the queue to get my tickets.”
Indian rock lovers should thank DNA for the first ever Metallica concert in India, even though, the entire episode might have compelled some of us to think if we are, at all, ready to manage such big shows with such a huge crowd? In a nutshell, the concert was a huge hit, but at the same time it left us with the much debatable question.
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