Trouble In India

Bryan Adams may be the most popular Western artist in India, but his tour of the subcontinent did not go as smoothly as planned.

After stops in Pune and Mumbai, the Canadian singer was set to play a sold-out show at the NSIC Exhibition Grounds in New Delhi on Feb. 15, but local police canceled it because of “public safety” concerns.

Police did not issue a “no objection certificate” for the concert, because of a combination of sudden bad weather and larger crowds than originally anticipated, according to the Times of India.

A police official told The Asian Age the concert organizers sold more tickets than the capacity of the venue, which holds 6,000. In addition, they had not made any contingencies for traffic, which was expected to be heavy since it was a weekday. The police apparently had already told organizers as early as Feb. 10 of their plan to refuse permission for the concert.

Organizers promptly rescheduled the concert for Feb. 20 at a different venue, but even that show was eventually scrapped. Sujit Jain, managing director of Netsurf Entertainment, released a statement saying that the rescheduled show was “cancelled … due to logistical issues. The singer is performing in Kathmandu on 19th February and in London on 21st February. However, Bryan Adams will return to India this year to fulfill his commitment to his fans. People who have purchased the tickets online and through retail outlets will get a complete refund.”

Adams played the sold-out Katmandu show Feb. 19, the city’s first international pop music concert “in years,” according to Nepal News, attracting 20,000 people to Dashrath Stadium, not to mention almost 2,000 police and other security personnel.

The crowd was reportedly monitored by 60 closed-circuit TV sets installed specially for the concert, which was threatened by its own set of circumstances beyond Adams’ control.

Days before the concert was to take place two Nepali organizations, the National Sports Council and that council’s Workers Assocation, accused each other of shaking down the concert organizer, ODC Network Nepal, for money to use the stadium.

The dispute is seen as a result of a power vacuum in the Sports Ministry as a new administration takes over the government.

In addition, the Nepal Alcohol Policy Alliance Group objected to sponsorship of the show by liquor companies, saying that alcohol is becoming a serious social problem in Nepal.

In the end, neither controversy seemed to have had any effect on the concert itself.