Iligan City

From 3 days to 1 night: Organizers apologize for cutting short Iligan Music Festival

Herbie Gomez
From 3 days to 1 night: Organizers apologize for cutting short Iligan Music Festival

SOUND BLAST. A crowd gathers to watch the indie pop and alternative rock band December Avenue perform at the Iligan Music Festival on September 22.

Merlyn Manos/Rappler

The event's executive producer, Amir Aluk, says the decision was necessary to prevent losses

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Organizers of the controversial Iligan Music Festival (IMF) apologized again, this time, for cutting short their promised three-day musical extravaganza.

They called off a series of performances after the first night of the music festival to avoid heavy losses despite their claims that Day 1 was a success.

The organizers had promised performances by more than 40 bands and artists from Thursday to Saturday, September 22 to 24. 

Instead of their advertised “three days of fun and music,” what concertgoers got was less than eight hours of performances by mostly local groups, artists, and DJs from Thursday night until 2 am on Friday.

Now, those who paid P1,500 and more for each ticket felt shortchanged and called for a refund as bills started to pile up.

As early as August, the organizers had sold tickets priced at P1,000 to P5,000 on the premise that they would hold the daily shows from 9 am to 3 am at the National Steel Corporation (NSC) grounds.

The tickets were widely seen as quite pricey by local standards.

Subsequently, organizers lowered the price to P500 days before the event to boost ticket sales.

The 9 am to 3 am schedule was not kept on the first and only day of the music festival, and the venue was changed to the local government-owned Iligan City Wet Park just days before the event.

Outside the concert venue, there was no long queue for tickets before the show started, a scene not typical of big musical events. 

There were only several dozen concertgoers inside during the first performance on Thursday night, but the crowd grew later in the evening and reached its peak by the time the popular band December Avenue took center stage.

One of the organizers, Dr. Charles Marquez, later said the first night of the music festival “was a blast.”

Iligan tourism chief Agnes Clerigo earlier said local officials found out that NSC executives were unaware and did not consent to the use of the company’s property for the then-planned three-day music festival. 

IMF posters and tickets showed that the NSC property was identified as the concert venue.

Officials said the NSC property was not suited for a concert given its lack of amenities, and the area has been known for its snake population.

Clerigo said they suggested that the organizers reschedule the music festival so they would have more time to prepare.

But the organizers pushed through with their plans, saying that “the show must go on.”

Several bands and artists already came for the second day of the music festival and found themselves without work on Friday after the abrupt cancellation of the remaining two days of the music festival.

The announcement of the decision to cut short the musical event came a bit late.

Amir Archival Aluk, the IMF executive producer, took to social media on Sunday, September 25, and owned up to the failure.

The same message was posted on the IMF’s official Facebook page the following day.

Aluk said the decision to cancel the remaining two days of the music festival was “necessary to prevent losses and contempt due to the actions caused by those who wished IMF to fail.”

“The decision to call off the remaining days of the IMF was a heartbreaking and difficult one,” he added.

Aluk admitted his “great management lapses,” apologized, and anticipated more problems after the decision to cancel the performances on Friday and Saturday.

“As of this time, I am reaching out to every investor, partners, sponsors, suppliers, concessionaires, government support groups, and my hardworking production staff in order to address and mitigate the pressing challenges after the cancellation of the remaining days of the IMF,” he said.

The organizers suffered setbacks starting in early September when a sexual innuendo-loaded teaser meant to promote the event backfired and made organizers issue a public apology.

The teaser sparked an uproar that forced city hall to remove the music festival from its list of endorsed events during the month-long Diyandi Festival in time for the September 29 feast of Michael the Archangel, the predominantly Catholic city’s patron saint.

Popular performers backed out such as R&B singer Arthur Nery. He announced through Viva Records as early as September 12 that he would not be able to perform during the IMF at the NSC grounds due to concerns about “health and safety.” 

Except for hip-hop artist Syke and the five-piece December Avenue on the first night of the music festival, none of the popular bands and artists organizers promised were able to take the stage. 

The list included performers such as violinist Michaella Torres, Wolfgang frontman Basti Artadi, reggae singer Kokoi Baldo, Cyanide, rock musician Franco, heavy metal band SkyChurch, and alternative rock band Nobela.

On the band’s Facebook page, December Avenue promised to return to Iligan as it thanked those who came to watch them perform.

“Alam namin na di pa yon ang huli nating pagkikita. Mobalik mi puhon. Pangako yan! (We know it’s not going to be our last. We will return. That’s a promise!)” read part of the band’s message. –

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