Ladakhis Cancel Music Fest Over Alcohol Fears
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09 July 2010
By Mahafreed Irani
Afour–day international music festival due to take place 11,500 feet above sea level amid the pristine mountain wilderness of Ladakh has been cancelled due to opposition from local groups.
The Ladakh Confluence would have hosted 4000 visitors from India and abroad. But the organisers are facing resistance from the All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA) and the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), both of which have a common complaint: "The alcohol and substance abuse by tourists at the confluence is negatively influencing the Ladakhi youth–.
The confluence organizers–young professionals and music aficionados–are now working on getting a refund system in place.
"The ticket is non–refundable as income from ticket sales was allocated for production,– said a spokesperson.
A ticket holders– petition asking the state tourism minister to release sponsorship funds that the government had promised for the festival is being circulated online. "The money received will be used to refund the tickets,– the spokesperson said.
Security arrangements were made to ensure no one indulged in substance abuse at the confluence this year. A disclaimer on the website calls it a drug–free festival yet locals like Dawa Jora, a member of the ALTOA are opposing it because they were disappointed with "tourists doing drugs and alcohol on the confluence campus last year–.