An electronic dance music (EDM) concert featuring Grammy-winning disc jockey David Guetta was cancelled hours before it was scheduled to begin on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Thursday evening. Sunburn Global, the organisers of the event, alleged that the last-minute cancellation was due to police concerns about law and order following the alleged incidents of mass molestation during New Year’s Eve festivities in the city. The organisers also failed to obtain police permission for the event — at Embassy International Riding School in Tarahunse village of Bengaluru Rural district, 25 km from the city.
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The Bengaluru Rural Police, however, stated that the event was not granted clearance because elections to the board of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) in the district were conducted on Thursday. They also claimed that the organisers approached them for clearance only on January 10, when police resources had been allocated for the polls.
French DJ and music producer Guetta was to start his four-city India tour with the concert in Bengaluru. The organisers, Sunburn Global, are also the organisers of the annual year-end EDM festival Sunburn.
On Thursday morning, Sunburn Global, Percept Live, CEO Karan Singh said in a statement that the Guetta gig was being cancelled “due to the present law and order situation in Bengaluru following the events that transpired around New Year’s Eve’’. As a result “authorities have recommended against holding the David Guetta concert scheduled today in the city. We at Sunburn tried our very best to make it happen but the authorities understandably are not prepared to take any chances. Hence today’s concert unfortunately stands cancelled,” the statement read.
The police then called a press conference and accused the concert organisers of spreading false news. IGP Seemanth Kumar Singh told reporters that the organisers approached the police on January 10 for permission for the show as well as a no-objection certificate for sale of liquor during the event. Bengaluru Rural SP Amit Singh refused permission for the event on account of the APMC elections and suggested that the organisers postpone the event, the IGP said.
“The organisers are spreading lies by saying the event was cancelled due to law and order problem. We did not tell them that permission was being denied on account of law and order problems. A major event like Pravasi Bharatiya Divas with more than 7,000 delegates was handled efficiently by Bengaluru Rural Police. Our security priority for January 12 was the election and that’s why we suggest postponing the concert,” IGP Singh said.
According to SP Singh, the organisers have earlier held events at the Embassy International Riding School after seeking clearances a month in advance. “This time they approached us two days before the event. They are now defaming the police and Bengaluru city,” he said.
The police have threatened action against the concert organisers for spreading “false news”. This comes amid denials by Bengaluru City Police regarding the alleged incidents of mass molestation in the city on New Year’s Eve.
This is not the first time Sunburn Global has run into problems with the government. Last year, it was forced to shift the Sunburn EDM festival from the beaches of North Goa to Pune after authorities in Goa imposed several conditions and sought, among other things, payment of Rs 84 lakh for police deployment and traffic management services.