Incidents of sexual assault mar Pakistan’s Solis Festival
Solis Festival Pakistan's first and biggest concert series was marred by allegations of sexual assault and injury caused by unruly mobs that entered the venue, many of whom climbed onto the VIP platform leading it to collapse
The February 15 ‘night of horrors’, as one Twitter user described it, has drawn widespread flak on social media, with concert attendees threatening to sue the organisers following their harrowing experience.
From mismanagement to over populated event from breaking VIP lounges to destruction of stage, one can easily navigate that we are intolerant society as a whole that needs schooling badly I REPEAT BADLY #Solis #solisfestival #Islamabad pic.twitter.com/MxAqNiBhlM— SUMAIRA RAJPUT (@sumaira_rajput) February 16, 2020
According to multiple reports, the festival fell into disarray when it began to be overtaken by those who reportedly held fake tickets. In the lengthy Instagram post, the Solis Festival organisers further said: “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.
DEAR ISLAMABAD What was borne from a love of music and wanting to share a piece of the international music world to Pakistan, Solis provided entertainment that didn’t exist and became a community based on peace and unity, bringing together homegrown businesses that supported our economy and put Pakistan on the map. Despite all the challenges of putting together such an experience in Pakistan (the things you don’t see behind the scenes like finding the right speakers, pyro, the security gates that need to be built from scratch, to convincing our artists that Pakistan is indeed safe and beautiful), we made it happen. Not once, not even 3 times in 2019, but for the 4th time yesterday in Islamabad till the incident hours after doors opened. 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. We know that you came far and wide and we know how much you were looking forward to this event as we were too. 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. WE are a community. WE are responsible for changing mindsets- together! While we will hold on Solis indefinitely in Islamabad, we will NOT let this define us. We will LEARN and PERSEVERE and keep giving Pakistan an experience they haven’t had before, much like we have done in the past. We will NOT let the actions of a few decide for the rest of us. We will be back.
Instagram user Shanza G, who reportedly attended the Solis Festival, later posted graphic images of her injuries and those sustained by her friends. "[The stage] was almost 7ft [3m] 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."
15.02.2020 its just 30 minutes in, we’re at the front dancing and I BLACKOUT what I realize next is the entire vip lounge COLLAPSING. it was almost 7 feet high and i lost consciousness for a minute bec ig that’s just how your brain responds. i remember as soon as i regain consciousnesses half a minute later i’m in trauma, unaware of what just happened, me, my sis, my brother and my friends are helplessly trying to get up, i swear i couldn’t figure out what’s happening, ALL I REMEMBER IS ME STRUGGLING TO GET UP and a guy starts snatching my bag, (i was wearing a crossbody bag and it was in my neck) i literally thought I’d suffocate or my neck’s going to break and the guys there pick up the grill and start pushing it back while we’re stuck in it. my sister’s screaming and so is my friend. i look at @saishaa.g and her leg’s stuck underneath the grill and some guy’s on top of her. my sister’s phone fell somewhere there and it’s lost now bec somebody picked it up. we’re panicking, getting stamped upon and literally no ones helping bec in this moment these filthy frustrated assholes get a chance and start touching, groping and harassing us, it took me a moment to realise what they’re doing bec I was in absolute hysteria. my body was aching bec of the injuries. i was almost numb @solisfestival continued and the DJs didn’t even stop the music. my lil brother helped us all get up with his forehead bleeding and then we rushed straight out. what we see out is literally a group of men following a girl who’s walking her way in, a guy legit slapping a girl who accused him of harassing and a whole lotta other shit. we couldn’t walk. idk how we made it to the car but not a single person was there to HELP. we went straight to the hospital, my tissues and muscles of the leg are torn, my bestfriend got her leg fractured, my sister’s hands were bleeding and her thighs bruised. A TRAGIC SOLIS NIGHT ONCE AGAIN! WHERE ARE YOU NOW @solisfestival? IS THIS THE SAFETY YOU PROVIDE FOR A 10K TICKET? HOW TF ARE YOU PLANNING ON COMPENSATING THE PHYSICAL PAIN AND MENTAL TRAUMA, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, THE GRAVE LOSS OF A LIFE AND THE PAIN WE’RE STILL GOING THROUGH? #solis