‘A rort’

Toto or­gan­is­ers slammed

Hawke's Bay Today - - Front Page -

Or­gan­is­ers of Thurs­day night’s Toto con­cert have come un­der fire from forced to wait more than an hour to get in.mu­sic lovers who were

Dis­grun­tled con­cert­go­ers also say the Church Road win­ery’s sys­tem for buy­ing food and drink was “cum­ber­some” and a “rip-off”.

About 7000 peo­ple at­tended the “A Sum­mer’s Day — Toto, Dragon and Jef­fer­son Star­ship” con­cert by Nep­tune En­ter­tain­ment.

Julie Thomp­son flew from Wellington for the evening and said it was “more about rev­enue gath­er­ing than hos­pi­tal­ity”.

De­spite ar­riv­ing at about 3.30pm, a long queue had al­ready formed in the heat, caus­ing Thomp­son to miss part of Dragon’s open­ing set.

“There was only one gate go­ing in and it made it a long wait,” Thomp­son said.

She said the crowd out­side spilled on to the road, be­cause of its sheer size, caus­ing them to be “yelled at” by se­cu­rity.

And once in, she said, apart from the mu­sic, things were not much bet­ter, par­tic­u­larly as pa­trons needed an AWOP card, pur­chased on-site, to buy food and drink.

“I just thought it was a rort be­cause you are a cap­tive au­di­ence and you re­ally have no choice to go and buy al­co­hol.

“The peo­ple who I was with have all got money on their card and they have to go on­line now to get their money back.”

The qual­ity of the sound was also an­other point of con­tention, with com­plaints about the “patch­i­ness” through­out the venue.

She was among a num­ber of oth­ers who took to so­cial me­dia to share their frus­tra­tion.

Upon ar­riv­ing at 4.30pm, Tracy Jones promptly went back home and came back two hours later, to a queue that was still “very long”.

“We missed a lot of the con­cert. I’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced queues like that be­fore at a Church Road event.

“I just think they didn’t have enough staff to get peo­ple through the gate.

“The con­cert it­self was fan­tas­tic. It was just the crowd man­age­ment that was re­ally the huge prob­lem.”

How­ever, oth­ers found no short­com­ing with the gig.

One woman wrote in re­sponse to peo­ple’s con­cerns on so­cial me­dia; “sorry about your bad ex­pe­ri­ence. But I was there too and I never went through what you are talk­ing about.”

Nep­tune En­ter­tain­ment di­rec­tor Toby Bur­rows said over­all the event was a “re­sound­ing suc­cess”.

“It was our first time at Church Road and it was great to see the venue in full swing.

“The artists were very pleased with the crowd and they loved the city, the venue and the at­mos­phere. They all want to come back,” Bur­rows said.

As for the long queues, Bur­rows said the open­ing time had orig­i­nally been 3pm, but they had com­mu­ni­cated through their web­site and so­cial me­dia lead­ing up to the event about the new time of 4pm.

“This was clearly our fault and re­sulted in a large queue gath­er­ing up to one and a half hours be­fore we opened, cre­at­ing a back­log.

“We man­aged to have over 95 per cent of the crowd in prior to the first act, how­ever.

“We will be adding more pro­cess­ing lanes for fu­ture shows. Also . . . al­most ev­ery­one brings some type of bag or chilly bin that needs to be searched which also slows down the pro­cess­ing.”

Re­gard­ing AWOP, he said most events were switch­ing to a cash­less sys­tem and from an event-op­er­at­ing per­spec­tive it was ideal.

Bur­rows said the lines were “very short” when­ever he checked on them.

“There can be some re­sis­tance to new tech­nol­ogy but glob­ally this is the fu­ture for events and we have been us­ing cash­less sys­tems at our events for around 15 years.”

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

A Sum­mer’s Day fea­tur­ing Toto, pic­tured, Dragon and Jef­fer­son Star­ship at Church Road win­ery has come un­der fire by some con­cert­go­ers.

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