By Naini Singh:
After countless news flashes and online stories of what went down at the Metallica concert that was scheduled to take place on Friday, the 28th of October, as another weary fan who returned from the venue dejected, I want to set some things straight right now.
Firstly, (and I am supported by many news reports that find that) the postponement was not due to any unruly behavior but due to the band not being happy with the organization, security and management of the concert. After many hours of waiting to get into the concert venue, eager and excited fans waited for more than two and a half hours. Note that all this while not a single opening act had performed. The massive gathering may have put up with the constant demands of the organizers to step back from the barricades which were being reinforced with a degree of obnoxiousness, but at the same time, this does not create any grounds for any sort of blame to be apportioned to the crowd itself. The fault lies with the organizers, that we should be clear on by now, because they failed to put in secure crowd control measures including adequate manpower to deal with the large influx of concert-goers, as well as proper barricading and checking at the entry gates.
What annoys me on a personal and national front is the tendency of a people who were not even present at the venue to immediately put the responsibility of an unfortunate set of circumstances on the crowd itself. The stereotype of a Haryanvi Jaat who deigns to turn up at the concert is mocked, and the average Delhi boy or girl isn’t spared either. Last time I checked, I was a Haryanvi Jaat, and I didn’t feel any need to create any chaos at the said concert because my identity permits, no, insists that I live up this Jaat tag. Many of my friends who are Haryanvi jaats are extremely fond of metal and are avid fans of bands such as Megadeth, Pantera and Lamb of God. The same crowd welcomed the Prodigy with love and enthusiasm in January 2011, so much so that the Prodigy expressed that they would love to come and play at the venue again.
Another piece of fact dismantles the popular opinion leaning against the Haryanvi crowd- riots breaking out after concerts are not uncommon. They happen everywhere, not just in Gurgaon or Delhi. Guns N’ Roses fans rioted in Vancouver a few years back when they had to cancel a concert. Last year, riots broke out in Manhattan after the canceled Drake concert. Earlier this year, Bangkok fans rioted after a cancellation of the Deftones concert. This phenomenon of concert fan behavior spans across continents, countries, ethnicities and music genres. Clearly, it has more to do with the liability and responsibilities of the organizers and the performers, rather than a happy, pumped-up crowd that has paid good money to see their favorite acts perform. Not even a good, cathartic riot compares to the sheer ecstasy that a fan feels when listening to his favorite band or artist perform right in front of their eyes. And how can I say this with such confidence?
Because just like the other 25,000 or so odd Metallica fans that showed up today, I too, have joined that number of fans the world over who came home from a concert that was being anticipated impatiently for months, a concert that was cancelled not because we created ruckus, but because the people who are paid to make it happen just failed to do so.