Iligan Music Festival starts slow, then picks up steam

Police estimate that the Iligan Music Festival crowd peaked at some 5,000 before midnight on Day 1

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – The controversial Iligan Music Festival started slow on Thursday night, September 22, but drew thousands of concertgoers by the time the indie pop and alternative rock band December Avenue took the stage later in the evening.

Police estimated that the crowd peaked at some 5,000 before midnight.

The series of performances at the Iligan City Wet Park started with a local band and only several dozen spectators at around 6:45 pm, but the crowd slowly grew by the time Syke and the five-piece December Avenue performed.

It started with performances by more than a dozen mostly local bands and artists, and ended with four DJs doing the turntables.

One of the organizers of Iligan’s first-ever music festival, Charles Marquez, was in high spirits.

“The first night of the Iligan Music Festival was a blast! It started somewhat slow early in the night, but as soon as December Avenue came to play, a great number of Iliganons just poured in to sing their songs. It was just the first day…. Iliganons did really show how to rock!” he said.

Organizers said they were optimistic more would come on the second night of the music festival on Friday, September 23, when performers such as Michaella Torres, Wolfgang frontman Basti Artadi, reggae singer Kokoi Baldo, and Cyanide would take center stage.

Marquez said they were expecting the music festival crowd to build up until the third and final night that would include performances by Franco, SkyChurch, and Cagayan de Oro’s Nobela.

Captain Niel Mark Quipanes, chief of the Iligan City Police’s Station 1, said authorities had expected and prepared for a crowd that could reach 7,000 on Thursday night.

Quipanes said Day 1 of  the music festival ended without any peace and order problem at 2 am on Friday.

Police said they would deploy more personnel to secure the area when the music festival performances resume on Friday night.

Organizers of the event suffered major setbacks early this month when the city government left them on their own and dropped the music festival from its list of Diyandi Festival activities following an uproar over a sexual innuendo-loaded teaser posted on their official Facebook page.

Iligan has lined up a series of city hall-supported activities leading up to the September 29 feast of Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of the predominantly Catholic city. 

Then they were forced to look for another venue after it reached city hall’s attention that they announced that the music festival would be held at the National Steel Corporation’s property without the knowledge of the firm’s executives. 

Officials said the area has been known to be populated by snakes, and was unfit for a huge gathering.

City hall eventually allowed them to use the Iligan City Wet Park but prohibited them and concertgoers from setting up tents and camping on the local government property.

The organizers were also told to end the performances and pack up by 2 am. –

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