Metallica Concert in India Canceled, Organizers Arrested

7:04 AM PST 10/31/2011 by Nyay Bhushan
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Four executives from DNA Entertainment were taken into custody for the canceled F1 Rocks event near Delhi.

NEW DELHI – Following the cancellation and riot at what would have been Metallica's first India concert in India Friday, four executives of Bangalore-based concert promoters DNA Entertainment were arrested over the weekend.

However, the band's other scheduled India show went off without a hitch in Bangalore on Sunday, with the band rocking an estimated audience of 50,000 at the Palace Grounds venue. “India has been a life-changing experience for us,” Metallica lead vocalist James Hetfield told the crowd as the band stormed through an 18-track set which included hits such as “Master of Puppets,” “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters."

The F1 Rocks event – organized alongside India's first Formula One race that took place Sunday near Delhi – was called off by DNA citing “technical reasons” just hours before the band was set to hit the stage in front of an estimated 25,000-strong crowd.

The resulting chaos led to some fans destroying equipment and the stage causing damage worth an estimated $200,000. Police in the city of Gurgaon said Saturday they had arrested four executives of DNA Entertainment including its operational head Rajesh Chandwani along with three of his team members. Gurgaon police also summoned DNA founder and MD T Venkat Vardhan to join the investigations.

“We are interrogating four others who are in our custody. Once the company's chief comes here, we will be able to ascertain the reason behind the sudden cancellation of the event,” a police spokesperson was quoted stating. The police said they had several complaints from fans who alleged that DNA sold more tickets than the venue's capacity and that they were never informed before the cancellation was announced.

Meanwhile, DNA had given a bank guarantee to the Gurgaon administration for 10 million rupees ($200,000) in accordance with local regulations. With the concert cancellation under investigation, police officials said they have asked DNA's Bangalore bank “to not release any payment to the organizers until clearance is given by the Gurgaon administration.”

“Once we, along with DNA, the promoters of the show, determined that there was a failure of a security barricade in front of the stage that could not be adequately repaired, the promoter reluctantly announced the postponement of the show until Saturday. Unfortunately, on such short notice the promoters were unable to secure a permit for a show on Saturday. Therefore, DNA announced that we would not be able to play in Delhi,” Metallica said in a statement on its website.

As for ticket refunds, DNA said it would be issuing full-page advertisements in newspapers giving details which were also posted on its website. Online ticket buyers have been asked to send their tickets via courier to the company's Bangalore address while retail ticket buyers have been told to get their refunds from the point of purchase.

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