Iligan City

‘Tent City’ goes pfft: Iligan bans tents during 3-day music festival

Merlyn Manos
‘Tent City’ goes pfft: Iligan bans tents during 3-day music festival

The controversial teaser on the Iligan Music Festival's Facebook page.

Organizers start selling cheaper tickets to lure more people into taking part in the three-day Woodstock-inspired event

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – Organizers of the controversial Iligan Music Festival on Monday, September 19, announced they would proceed with the event this week despite a series of setbacks resulting from an uproar sparked by a sexual innuendo-loaded teaser posted on their social media page.

But participants and organizers of the music festival, also top-billed as the Iligan “Tent City,” were prohibited from setting up camping tents by the city government.

Organizers also announced their decision to start selling tickets as low as P500 each to attract more participants and visitors from other places.

Before the uproar, they sold tickets ranging from P1,000 to P5,000.

“The IMF production team will have its final ticket price adjustments on September 20… With cheaper ticket prices, more people will have the chance to experience great fun and excitement through the Iligan Music Festival,” said Dr. Charles Marquez, one of the event’s organizers.

The Iligan Music Festival is scheduled to start on Thursday, September 22, at the city hall-owned Iligan City Wet Park, exactly a week ahead of the city-wide feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of the predominantly Catholic city.

Its promotional campaign was going on smoothly until one of the administrators of the festival’s official Facebook page posted a teaser in early September that implied that the event would be characterized by tents, sex, and rock ‘n roll.

Organizers took down the post and issued a public apology.

The resulting uproar forced city hall to delist the three-day outdoor musical event as one of the local government-backed major activities during the month-long Diyandi Festival ahead of the city-wide fiesta.

City hall’s fiesta organizers also found out that the original venue for the music festival – a property of the National Steel Corporation (NSC) – was not suited for the activity, and that the company’s executives were unaware of the event.

Iligan tourism chief Agnes Clerigo said organizers and participants have been prohibited from camping within the city hall-owned park.

“They have to finish the daily concerts at 2 am and go home. Their performers should return to their hotels or wherever they will be billeted,” Clerigo said.

She said the only tents allowed during the music festival are the ones to be erected by vendors.

Ironically, there is no supply of potable or bathing water at Wet Park – what it has are man-made lagoons, ponds, and other pools of water not intended for swimming. The park was built to absorb runoffs during heavy rains.

The park also lacks toilet facilities for the kind of crowd the organizers were expecting.

Iligan Mayor Frederick Siao said the only thing city hall can do for the organizers is to ensure that the venue would be secured.

Although city hall has withdrawn its support for the event, he said peace and order and cleanliness have to be maintained at the park during the three-day music festival.

Siao said he wished the organizers success because “if there’s a problem on peace and order and security during the event, it will come back to the LGU (local government unit).”

Clerigo said the city government is duty-bound to secure the area during the three-day event.

City hall had advised the organizers to reschedule the music festival so they would have more time to prepare. But since they decided to proceed as scheduled, Clerigo said, local officials would make sure that the police would be there to secure the area.

“We also understand that they have invested in this, and people already bought tickets. The organizers cannot refund,” Clerigo said. 

Marquez, for his part, said organizers were closely coordinating security concerns with authorities. –

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