"[people] start touching, groping and harassing us."
Popular Pakistani music festival Solis was cancelled midway after hundreds of fake ticketholders stormed the venue.
The Islamabad-based dance music event is billed as Pakistan’s biggest concert series.
This was the fourth of its electronic dance music events featuring international performers.
Hundreds were in attendance at the music festival. VIP tickets were sold for up to Rs. 11,000 (£54).
On February 15, 2020, people broke through the barricades after being denied entry. Many then climbed onto a VIP stage which collapsed as a result of overcrowding.
This resulted in several people suffering injuries.
However, multiple women have reported being groped and sexually assaulted amidst the chaos.
One woman explained that she was in the VIP area. She said that the event was 30 minutes in when the stage collapsed:
“[The stage] was almost 7ft high and I lost consciousness for a minute.
“All I remember is me struggling to get up and a guy starts snatching my bag.
“We’re getting stamped upon and literally no one’s helping… [people] start touching, groping and harassing us.”
The woman went on to slam the festival organisers.
“Where are you now, Solis festival? How are you planning on compensating the physical pain, mental trauma [and] sexual harassment?”
One woman revealed that she briefly went unconscious after the stage collapsed. She woke to find a man on top of her who later spat at her.
“When I regained consciousness, a guy had ‘fallen’ on top of me, moving his hands all over my body ‘trying to get up’.”
“I pushed him and [then] he spit on me. I tried to get up but I couldn’t.”
Another woman’s horrific ordeal was shared on Twitter.
A woman attending #SolisFestival last night shares her horrifying ordeal.
She + friends were harassed and sexually assaulted by male concert goers, gatecrashers. They were injured by a falling platform.
Event organisers failed on every level.
Who's going to answer for this? pic.twitter.com/hF5j0Q4I2v
— Hamna Zubair (@hamnazubair) February 16, 2020
Festivalgoers blamed Soli Festival organisers for poor planning and security management, calling for “answers”.
Some people even posted footage of the chaos.
— Adnan Hameed ????? ???? (@AdnanHa65560820) February 15, 2020
The festival organisers later released a statement which read:
“We chose the venue and our security based on the number of tickets sold and made arrangements based on this. We warned against fake tickets on numerous occasions.
“However, we underestimated the sheer volume of thousands of ‘fake tickets’ that were being sold illegally.
“These people were denied entry, but broke our barricades and forced themselves in, climbing on VIP platforms which couldn’t take the weight and destroyed our stage putting everyone’s safety at risk.
“To those that believed in us and came to genuinely enjoy the show, we are deeply sorry that this experience was ruined by others.
“For you, our true fans, we absolutely could not put your safety and security at risk and had to stop the event.
“What some of you didn’t see was the further damage these individuals caused after we shut down the event. Crores of damage have set us back even further.”
The festival has been postponed indefinitely by the organisers said that they will be back.