Don't stop the music: Cancelled festival planners tell their side of the story


Life In Color, a Future Sound Asia event, has also been called off. 

Future Music Festival Asia, Life In Color, Kuantan Music Festival – three concerts gone in one week. There's been anger and confusion over what happened and why, but now the event organisers are telling their side of the story.

When Livescape Asia called off Day 3 of its Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) concert on March 15, it was late Saturday afternoon, hundreds of fans had already entered the grounds of Bukit Jalil Stadium, with thousands more on their way to the event, and several acts had finished their early performances by then.

The news spread like wildfire as texts, tweets, Facebook posts, status updates, phone calls – on every imaginable social networking tool available to the concertgoers – reacted in shock and horror. Some of the horror was over the deaths of five fans from Day 2 of the event, after one died on the grounds and the others while on their way to or at various hospitals, following a then-suspected drug overdose during Friday night's trance DJ rave.

The shock, however, was that the authorities had the audacity to "advice" Livescape to pull the plug on the last night of FMFA instead of risking more casualities, and that Livescape actually listened to them instead of standing up for the "rights" of all the other ticketholders to carry on partying.

Fans were furious that they were "robbed" of seeing acts like Pharrell Williams and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis live on stage, and took to the Internet to vent their anger and frustration. The rage and vitriol spewed against the "irresponsible druggies" – they were just kids – for "spoiling" everybody else's fun and "ruining Malaysia's image" was palpable. Labels like "cowards" were plastered everywhere, and if all the posts were true, it would seem like the world had ended.

But Rahul Kukreja, Livescape Asia's director, is sticking by his decision and believes that they all did the right thing. “Obviously, there were a lot of disappointed fans. But the safety of the festival-goers must always come first, so we decided to heed the advice from the authorities not to proceed with Day 3 of the festival. I hope the fans will understand that it was the right and responsible thing for us to do,” he tells The Star Online.

Rahul Kukreja, director of Livescape Asia and organiser of Future Music Festival Asia. 

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