ASEAN Music Festival canceled as people fainted

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 15) — The much-anticipated Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Music Festival in Makati City came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday after organizers canceled it almost just as soon as it started.

The ASEAN 2017 National Organizing Council, which handled the event, said it was due to public safety.

"For reasons of public safety, we have stopped the show. People are leaving to go home. We are sorry for the inconvenience," Southern Police District Chief Ssupt. Tomas Apolinario said.

Authorities said the free concert attracted over 15,000 people. Police initially said the crowd was hard to manage.

Parokya ni Edgar frontman Alfonso "Chito" Miranda, Jr., one of the performers in the festival, said the local music scene should not be underestimated.

"Di daw kasi nila ine-expect na ganun kadami ang pupunta kaya di nila napaghandaan ng maayos," Miranda tweeted.

[Translation: They said they did not foresee that a lot of people would attend.]

Concertgoers also said the crowd was massive.

CJ Domingo, who traveled all the way from Malabon with his siblings to attend the concert, said some people had even fainted.

He said authorities had difficulty controlling the crowd because there were so many people.

"Sobrang siksikan po tapos narinig ako kanina na ano po parang nasira daw po yata ang pila ng mga nakapila from 2 pm pa. Kaya po parang nagkagulo ang mga crowd," Domingo said.

[Translation: It was so crowded and I heard a while ago that the line of people who had been in line since 2 pm was broken. That's why the crowd went wild.]

Domingo said he saw at least 20 people being attended to by medics. He also claimed most of those who blacked out found it hard to breathe. 

Another concert goer, Mil Austria echoes Domingo's observation

"Madami ring nahimayay noong nagsisimula ang concert… Sobra. Hangang dito po crowded po yan," Austria said.

CNN Philippines tried to speak to the organizers but they refused to give details. The Presidential Communications Operations Office, which handles the affairs of the National Organizing Council, did not reply as well.

The ASEAN Music Festival was held in commemoration of the 50th anniversary and Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN.

It was supposed to feature both local artists and musicians from ASEAN countries.