License issues led to Quest Festival cancellation

By Ha Thu   November 24, 2018 | 07:59 pm PT
License issues led to Quest Festival cancellation
Quest music festival in Hanoi in 2016. Photo by VnExpress/File
The highly popular Quest Festival was cancelled at the last minute after organizers failed to get the culture ministry’s nod.

The organizers said the music festival’s suspension had inflicted heavy losses.

Nguyen Thai Binh, head of the cultural ministry’s office, asserted that the authorities had stopped the program unexpectedly.

"The Hanoi Department of Culture had licensed the event in July. But on September 19, the agency revoked it after the incident at the West Lake electronic music festival in Hanoi that killed seven people," Binh said.

Seven people died of suspected drug overdose at the Vietnam Electronic Weekend (VEW) festival at the West Lake Water Park. Hanoi’s culture department had said then that all music festivals in the capital city would be suspended until further notice.

"Quest Festival organizers still deliberately organized the festival, which forced the authorities to take action and stop the event," Binh said.

It has been reported that organizers set up stages at the Vietnam National Villages for Ethnic Culture and Tourism Village, brought international artists, and sold tickets to many local and foreign tourists.

The venue, which is 40 kilometers west of Hanoi, does not have enough facilities to accommodate 2,000 people to stay between November 23-25 and was deemed potentially risky, Binh said.

Event organizers dismantled the stages after receiving the suspension notice.

A Facebook post from the Quest Festival organizers on Friday read:

"For the moment our priority is to make sure our team and all Questers are home safe and sound. As such we have offered free transport back to Hanoi for all people stranded at the gates of the Cultural Village.

"We will provide a full statement shortly. Our love and deepest gratitude for your faith and support."

The Quest Festival was held for the first time in 2013, and proved to be a huge hit. Subsequent editions saw attendance increase exponentially and it was featured on prominent international media outlets like the CNN and the Guardian.

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