Police say 21,000 packed into 10,000-capacity venue for music festival in Jakarta

The crowd at Berdendang Bergoyang festival at Istora Senayan indoor arena. Photo: Police handout
The crowd at Berdendang Bergoyang festival at Istora Senayan indoor arena. Photo: Police handout

After the disasters at Kanjuruhan and, more recently, Itaewon, it’s a wonder that some still take crowd safety at major events for granted.

In Jakarta, police prematurely put an end to the three-day Berdendang Bergoyang music festival, which was held at Central Jakarta’s Istora Senayan indoor arena and its surrounding outdoor areas. 

The event was shut down before the conclusion of the festival’s second day on Saturday amid reports that dozens in the crowd fainted at the packed venue.

The Jakarta Metro Police today said that it found that the number of people in attendance on Saturday was more than double the venue’s capacity.

“The capacity is 10,000 but 21,000 people attended [on Saturday],” Jakarta Metro Police spokesman Endra Zulpan said.

Police are looking into whether or not the organizers deliberately printed more tickets than the venue can hold.

Previously, Central Jakarta Police Chief Komarudin said the organizers only obtained a permit to host up to 5,000 people each day for Berdendang Bergoyang. However, he said more than 20,000 people attended the festival on Friday as well.

Furthermore, Komarudin said there was only one tent for medical and emergency services. By comparison, there were five stages for the musical acts, comprising major Indonesian artists such as Melly Goeslaw, Pamungkas, Tulus, and many more.

Organizers pledged to refund ticket holders for the shortened second day and the canceled third day of the festival.

Though police deserve commendation for prioritizing crowd safety at Berdendang Bergoyang, it must never be forgotten that it was cops who fired tear gas in a packed Kanjuruhan soccer stadium in Malang, East Java on Oct. 1. The death toll from the disaster stands at 135.

Also this weekend, 154 partygoers were tragically killed in a crowd surge after thousands packed into Seoul’s nightlife district of Itaewon for Halloween.

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