While the construction of the impressive Buddh International Circuit has been free from allegations of corruption, the same could not be said for the accompanying musical sideshow after a riot erupted when the scheduled performance by Metallica was cancelled.
Around 25,000 people were expected to attend the show, which was to have kicked off the 'F1 Rocks' festivities accompanying this weekend's inaugural Indian Grand Prix, but excitement turned to anger when a series of announcements initially delayed the start and then cancelled the gig altogether. With conflicting rumours suggesting that either technical problems or fears of crowd safety were behind the cancellation, a section of the audience became violent, throwing bottles at security and destroying technical equipment on and around the stage.
“Every conceivable effort had been made for the concert to go ahead today but, in view of public safety, and in consultation with the event organiser DNA Entertainment Networks and representatives from Metallica, the decision was made to cancel the show," was the official line from F1 Rocks, “We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the many enthusiastic fans who were looking forward to watch a great band perform.”
Although event management company DNA Networks initially suggested that the event had merely been postponed until Saturday, they were unable to secure a permit at such short notice, and full refunds will now be on offer to ticket holders. Meanwhile, four people prominently involved with the concert, including DNA operations manager Rajesh Chandwani, have been arrested on charges of 'cheating' and 'breach of trust' as a result of the cancellation.
“The Metallica concert has become yet another example of chaos and mismanagement in organising events in India," Dow Jones Newswires Santanu Choudhury wrote, referring to another concert, featuring Canada's Bryan Adams, which was also cancelled recently. India, of course, hit the headlines for its frantic attempts to prepare for the Commonwealth Games following allegations of corruption in the construction of facilities.
The concert was to have been Metallica's first in India before moving on to Bangalore later in the weekend.