City told Quest to cancel two months before festival

  • December 04, 2018

A senior city official has revealed the organisers of Quest Festival 2018 were well aware the event could not go ahead – two months before it was meant to happen.

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A performance at Quest Festival 2015. 

Last weekend thousands of music lovers travelled to the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism believing they were heading to a three-day festival.

But when they arrived they were refused entry and told there would be no show.

Organisers frantically tried to convince the city’s government to give the event the green light, but late Friday night they gave up, and sent partygoers home.

Now a member of the Department of Culture and Sports has told Việt Nam News they informed those behind the event back in September the plug had been pulled.

This was after seven people died at the “Trip to the Moon Festival” at Ho Tay Water Park from suspected overdoses.

Immediately after the tragedy, Ha Noi People’s Committee slapped a ban on all electronic dance music (EDM) festivals in the area due to safety concerns until further notice.

This included Quest Festival 2018.

“It wasn’t a last-minute cancellation,” said Nguyen Van Truc, head of the art management section at Ha Noi’s Department of Culture and Sports.

“On September 19, the department sent a document to Việt-Úc Co., Ltd – the organiser, the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism – the venue of the event, and Son Tay Town police requesting the event’s cancellation.”

On the day the event was due to start, a number of documents were circulating on social media, with some people claiming one, dated November 20 and signed by the head of the department, allowed the event to go ahead.

But Truc explained this was never an agreement.

After the initial document was sent on September 19, a second document was issued on November 15 to the organiser, this time from the Management Board of the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism, where the event was being held.

Truc said this was a reminder to the organisers the event would be cancelled.

He said Quest later sent a document to the culture department asking for reconsideration, outlining the fact they had held successful festivals in the past, which had attracted a wide audience of both locals, expats and visitors to Vietnam.

In response to the organisers’ request, the culture department sent another document to the People’s Committee of Hanoi as they had the final say on whether the event could take place.

Many people attending the festival thought this was an agreement, but Truc explained it was simply a recommendation and the final decision rested with the People’s Committee.

They never responded, meaning the festival could not happen.

Truc added that the culture department has always supported music events in the city because those events meet people’s demand and help attract tourists to the city. 

"Other music activities are still going on," he said.

However, a lift of the current ban on EDM festivals will have to wait until there is a conclusion about the incident in Ho Tay Water Park and a solution is drawn out to guarantee security and fire safety.

"And this would be decided by the city’s People’s Committee," he said.

Many of those attending the Quest event have been left with a bitter taste in their mouths and have taken to social media to vent their anger and call for a refund.

As far as Việt Nam News understands, there will be no refund from the organiser to ticket buyers.

Some vendors are also angry, having spent money on stock, like food and drink, only to find the event was cancelled.

One vendor, who asked not to be named, told us she is considering legal action against the group behind Quest.

“After the incident they just disappeared and never said anything to us,” she said.

“They didn’t refund our deposit and we also lost money for food and transportation fees. We are thinking of taking the matter to court.”

The Department of Culture and Sports said they will not be getting involved with people’s claims for a refund.

“It was the organiser’s fault for selling tickets and letting people come to the festival,” said Truc.

“The issue involves the organiser and the ticket buyers and they need to work with each other to sort it out. The Department of Culture and Sports will not interfere with this issue.”

We contacted an advisor for the director of Quest who told us after consulting with their lawyers, they would not be making any comment. 

Source: Vietnamnet

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