Popular band's expo concert cancelled

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 June, 2010, 12:00am

World Expo organisers cancelled a performance of Smap, a top Japanese band due to play on Sunday, to avoid any potential stampede.

Chaos occurred on May 30 when thousands of fans competed for free tickets for a concert by popular Korean stars, such as Super Junior. Expo Bureau director Hong Hao said security guards had tried their best to keep order and denied a report that one person had died in the crush.

The concert was to have taken place at the 18,000-seat Expo Cultural and Performing Arts Centre.

The bureau website said the announcement on April 26 that Smap would perform at the expo had been well received by both Chinese and overseas fans and was well covered by the media.

However, after the Korean ticket crush, authorities, 'concerned about security', decided to cancel the performance to build a 'comfortable environment' for visitors, it said on Saturday.

'We feel very sad and extremely sorry when we think of the feeling of our fans who have been looking forward to seeing us,' the Taipei-based China Times quoted a release fom the band as saying.

'It happened suddenly ... but we hope to find other chances to meet with our fans in China who have been waiting for us.'

The band, established in 1988, has never played outside Japan. Each of its five members is a top star in Japan, with Takuya Kimura, dubbed the 'king of Japanese sitcom', well-known on the mainland for more than 10 years.

On Tuesday, after a ballet performance at an auditorium on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River, chaos erupted when the audience of about 2,000 heard that each member would receive a free USB flash drive. But instead, organisers distributed postcards to be redeemed for the drives.

Organisers said it would be hard to control the crowd, said Fang Ying, operations manager of Sao Paulo, which sponsored the ballet.