Metallica Promoter Blames Crowd

Metallica’s non-appearance at the Indian Formula 1 motor racing Grand Prix show was caused by an “unruly” section of the crowd climbing over safety barriers and damaging the stage set, according to a representative for promoter DNA Networks.

The first show scheduled for Oct. 28 was postponed for 24 hours, then canceled altogether because there was insufficient time to repair the damage and obtain the necessary permits.

Karuna Prithvi from the DNA’s press department told Pollstar it’s difficult to explain what sparked the fuss because “it was all so quick.” Meanwhile, disappointed fans say her company was to blame.

“The concert you organized in Gurgaon was a mess from the start to the finish,” regular music business blogger Rahul Sarin wrote in an open letter to DNA posted on YouTube.

“It started with the open consumption of alcohol, hash and what not at the entrance of the venue. With absence of any real security, it was a free-for-all,” he wrote.

He said the main causes of the problem were an unacceptable delay in opening the gates, lack of security and a disdainful attitude to the audience.

“Another big concern is the fact that mobile networks simply ceased to operate. Once again, I’m assuming this was a targeted move to contain the negative PR,” Sarin continued.

At press time, it wasn’t possible to determine whether the mini riot was sparked by the show’s delay or if it was the cause of the delay.

Nor was it possible to confirm reports that one member of the DNA staff was arrested amid suggestions that the show was sold beyond its 25,000 capacity.

The global media had various takes on what had caused the initial delay, including “technical problems” and the absence of a barrier at the front of stage.

Prithvi says the company always has barriers in place for its shows and the problem was caused when fans broke through them.

She said unruly fans “vandalized and destroyed” a lot of stage equipment, which meant it was impossible to fix it and get permission for a new show within 24 hours.

Some news reports say the trouble got worse when the postponement was announced.

Several U.S. papers and news sites carried stories that said “banners were set on fire” as people rushed the stage to “trash the band’s instruments” in what amounted to a full-scale riot.

The episode casts a shadow on India’s ability to stage huge international acts, particularly as it followed the cancellation of a Bryan Adams show that had to be scrapped because the promoter couldn’t get the necessary permits.

The Delhi police said the location for the show in the NSIC exhibition grounds at the Okhla industrial area in the south east of the city was not suitable.

The Metallica cancellation is also another setback for Enterprise Entertainment, which uses local promoters to help stage an occasional series of F1 Rocks concerts to coincide with races.

It produced a successful show headlined by Stereophonics at last year’s Italian Grand Prix, but two months later in Brazil another of its outdoor events was hit by bad weather.

In March, political unrest on the oil-rich island of Bahrain forced the cancellation of the Formula 1 motor racing Grand Prix and the F1 Rocks concert scheduled a day earlier.