Are music concerts a no-go area?
Recently, yet another musical concert in Lahore turned out to be a painful event for the women attending, as cases of harassment and trampling over were widely reported. This was an all-girl event.
I am referring to the March 12 concert held at Kinnaird College, Lahore. The show, which was to feature pop star Asim Azhar, was cancelled shortly after the guests reported incidents of harassment by the bodyguards deployed for security.
Just what is it supposed to mean? That public events aren’t ‘fit’ to be attended by the ladies, or the families, in our country?
As a freelance reporter, I tried to reach out to some of those attending the event to hear their accounts. Zainab Fatima told me that there was a stampede: “About a thousand girls stood outside the gate of the college. They weren’t being allowed to enter the premises and attend the event, even though they had concert tickets on them. Apparently, the organisers had oversold the tickets!”
Overselling the tickets is also an old story now. We’ve seen and heard of too many such incidents. Every time this (oversell) causes a stampedes. Clearly, the organisers oversell tickets to generate more profit (than is due). Another case in point is the Rhythm Festival which was held in December last year at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club: the gates were crashed and many were refused entry. I was to attend the festival and had barely reached the venue outside of which a trail of vehicles was stranded for hours, causing traffic snarl-ups on the adjacent Canal Road underpass. I was witness to many families desperately wanting to get out of the mess.
The KC music concert turned out to be the ghastliest. When you are harassed by the very bouncers who’ve been hired for the crowd’s security, whoever can you trust to be safe around, at such events?
But the KC music concert turned out to be the ghastliest. When you are harassed by the very bouncers who’ve been hired for security, who can you trust to be safe around at such events?
Shakuntla, another person attending the KC concert, told me, “The general response that we got from the guards was, ‘Agar hazaar larkiyon kay saath dus say bara aadmi kuch kar dein toh woh harassment nahin hoti!’”
In my opinion, such a response is a point to ponder — it shows a general attitude. The good part is that the event organiser now faces a court case from the Kinnaird College administration for “maligning” the institute’s reputation.
Videos of bouncers laughing after the girls accused them of harassment at the event have gone viral on social media. Some of those attending took to social media to vent their outrage. One of them posted, “They hired male bodyguards, who were constantly videoing/taking pictures of girls without their consent. If someone tried to stop them, they wouldn’t.”
In a society where misogynistic attitudes are frequent the authorities must take strong action to deter (potential) harassers. Till that happens, the civil society should consider boycotting such events.