Korean all-girl band After School pull out the stops to entertain an eager crowd of Cambodian fans at Saturday’s MTV Exit Live concert to raise awareness of human trafficking. Photo by: Pha Lina / Nina Loacker
More than 40,000 screaming fans tested security efforts as they revelled in a spectacle of international and local pop artists at the free MTV Exit Live in Phnom Penh concert on Saturday.
Streams of families, young adults and teenagers jammed into Olympic Stadium to catch a glimpse of their favourite artists on stage.
A mix of private security, local police and the military had their hands full trying to control the masses – a larger amount than organisers had anticipated.
One fan who squeezed his way through the audience, past security, over the barrier fence and to the restricted access area at the front of the stage was 22-year-old Diamond Kheng.
“I wanted to be up front because I love the music and these bands. I want to be a singer like them. I always sing songs everyday, so I tried for a long time to come here to the front,” he said.
At one point security made a human barrier to defend headline act After School from an influx of tearful, admiring fans that lovingly pushed their way closer and closer to the stage.
The Korean girl band were unquestionably the highlight of the night as they romanced the crowd with hit singles like Love Love Love, Because of You, Bang and Diva.
Their shiny pink mini-skirts, flowing hair and synchronized hip-swinging, shoulder-pumping dance moves were met with the unified screams of “After School” by adoring fans.
One such fan was teary-eyed 19-year-old Long Kasy.
“I am so happy. I’m so excited I don’t even have words to explain,” he said shortly after the girl band performed their last choreographed music routine of the night.
“After School is my idol I have loved them for so long, I am just so happy I love this concert.
“I also loved The Click Five.”
American power pop band The Click Five were back on stage for their second performance at a MTV Exit Live in Phnom Penh concert. The first concert was in 2008.
They fuelled the concert with some of their fans favourite tunes like Jenny, Just the Girl, Good Day, Happy Birthday and Headlight Disco.
The band’s lead singer Kyle Patrick interrupted the performance to deliver a short message.
“Thank you for welcoming us to your country,” he said.
“We have a reason and a big cause for being here, to stop the issuing of human trafficking. We want you to know a few things. Your body is yours, don’t let anyone manipulate you …Awareness is the first step.
“Ar kun,” he said, to the cheerful laughter of the 40,000.
He then went on to dedicate an original song Don’t Let Me Go to Cambodia. The song was produced in collaboration with MTV Exit to communicate key anti-trafficking messages, the theme and purpose of the free concert.
Local artists who joined the cause to raise awareness of human trafficking were Cambodia’s king of pop Preab Sovath and his entourage of male dancers in suits and sunglasses, and ballad wielding Sok Pisey who graced the stage in a flowing green and orange frock, to the approval of her screaming fans.
“This is another new beginning to something greater as we bring together local and international artists in solidarity with over 40,000 youth who attended this concert. To make a statement that we all have to stand together to end modern day slavery,” MTV Exit campaign director Matt Love said.