Online petition launched to stop Sagada concert

A GROUP of concerned citizens from Sagada started an online petition at change.org to stop a concert that aims to accommodate thousands of people.

The petition has gained ground and now has over 1,100 signatures wanting to put a stop to “A Concert in the Clouds” dubbed the “Sagada Art, Music and Peace fair 2017,” which is scheduled on October 28 and 29. It features Ely Buendia, Up Dharma Down, Noel Cabangon, and Joey Ayala.

The petitioners said Sagada continues to face numerous challenges and threats to its local culture, values, and natural environment.

“One of the immediate threats is a proposed massive show called, ‘A Concert in the Clouds: Sagada, Art, and Music Fair.’ The producer anticipates 3,000 to 5,000 attendees with tickets marketed to pop music fans predominantly from the Metropolitan Manila area. However, this proposed outdoor extravaganza poses a substantial threat to our indigenous community’s social, cultural and environmental life with an unbearable burden to Sagada’s capacity to accommodate this event,” the petition said.

Sagada Tourism Officer Robert Pangod said the event is endorsed by the local government unit and the tourism office is expecting at least 5,000 people to watch the concert. He said the venue can accommodate 10,000 people.

Pangod said the entire town can only accommodate 4,000 in different lodging and transient houses and has sought nearby Bontoc town to take crowds who may not be able to book lodging in the town.

The concert is organized by Ed Formoso and all proceeds will be given to charity to help local projects in the municipality for the benefit of the day care centers and arts development in the town.

The petitioners, however, said the proposed two-day concert will very likely result in thousands of plastic water bottles, alcohol cans and bottles, plastic bags and other trash, including used tampons, cigarette butts, leftover illegal drug paraphernalia, and urine and bowel excrement, making it a real environmental, health and safety threat.

“Concert producers, organizers, and enablers ignore and neglect Sagada’s tourism carrying capacity by encouraging and selling tickets to thousands of pre-show ticket buyers with the added possibility of walk-in tourists also buying tickets currently priced at P2,000 per ticket. Selling tickets to thousands of buyers while ignoring tourism carrying capacity endangers the community’s weak infrastructure. We take special note that this proposed concert would occur just before a school semester break commencing around November 1," said the petitioners.

They added: "However, this is a time period primarily for local students and adults to go on vacation with family, as well as Sagada relatives living elsewhere who visit Sagada to reunite with family and take part in traditional, sacred and homecoming ceremonies among themselves. Sagada’s core values are transmitted via local practices and not in the selling of extravaganza shows produced by mass entertainment industry organizers for prospective audience members who know very little to nothing about local culture and values.”
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