Tiesto debacle puts pay to pleas for self-regulation

    The speculation and innuendo surrounding the now-infamous - not to mention disastrous - recent Middle East tour by Dutch DJ Tiesto has thrown the international spotlight on the region's events production industry and stirred up controversy from within.
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    The speculation and innuendo surrounding the now-infamous - not to mention disastrous - recent Middle East tour by Dutch DJ Tiesto has thrown the international spotlight on the region's events production industry and stirred up controversy from within. For the record, after performing to thousands of fans in Beirut, Tiesto travelled to Bahrain for a one-off show at Manama's Marina Club on July 4.

    From here, some of the finer details become murky, but what is known is that Tiesto failed to show at the venue as scheduled, leaving riotous fans to destroy much of the equipment hired in for the gig and security guards and Marina Club management helpless to stop them.

    Back in the safe confines of his hometown, Amsterdam, Tiesto subsequently fired the first salvo in a war of words with the show's promoter Prime Time Entertainment, claiming via his website that event organiser Ayman Al Hamad left the DJ stranded at his hotel on the night of the show and was later arrested at the Saudi border with the takings from the show and Tiesto's appearance fee.

    Serious stuff indeed.

    Al Hamad vehemently denied Tiesto's accusations, claiming that the DJ refused to perform after negotiations broke down on the night of the show regarding his fee.



    The promoter told Manama-based Gulf Daily News that Tiesto "refused to recognise Bahraini dinars as a valid currency", and demanded that he be paid entirely in euros.

    Al Hamad claimed the DJ had been paid 18,000 euros in advance to cover his "private jet expenses".

    (For the record, S&S contacted Tiesto's management and attempted to locate Al Hamad to clarify the situation, but were denied on both counts). The case not surprisingly attracted significant disdain from rival promoters. Speaking on anonymity, many expressed their embarrassment and regret that the situation had tarnished the reputation of the industry locally, while others expressed anger and frustration that the scenario could have long-term ramifications for the industry's quest for legitimacy internationally.

    Most importantly, many promoters argued that the scenario finally put pay to arguments in support of self-regulation, with a number calling for GCC governments to put in place licensing guidelines governing the industry with a view to a region-wide mandate for legislation.

    Indeed, the introduction of such guidelines should be supported if only to ensure industry-wide accountability and to guarantee that embarrassing scenarios such as that which occurred in Manama never happen again.

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