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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix concert goers advised to arrive early to avoid disappointment following crowd crush

The reminder by concert organiser Flash Entertainment comes after there was a crowd crush at du Arena on Friday night

The crowd enjoys the performance. Victor Besa / The National
The crowd enjoys the performance. Victor Besa / The National

Flash Entertainment has advised Abu Dhabi Grand Prix concert ticket holders to arrive early to du Arena to avoid heavy crowding.

Hundreds of ticket holders waited in vain at the gates of du Arena on Friday night as they arrived to watch The Weeknd, but were turned away due to heavy crowding.

“To ensure safe and smooth access to tonight’s concert, we would like to remind concertgoers that doors open at 18.00,” the concert organiser, Flash Entertainment, posted on its Instagram account.

“Please arrive early to enjoy the Village artists and activities.”

English singer-songwriter Sam Smith is scheduled to perform on Saturday evening, and further large crowds are expected for Guns N' Roses on Sunday following the main race.

Flash told The National that it had not made changes to its security measures following the incident, but issued five rules for concert goers to follow: arrive early, make sure you stay hydrated as the weather is still warm, have your passes ready for inspection, know where you need to collect your passes from and enjoy yourself.

On Friday, the arena's entrance gates were closed for safety reasons after a last-minute rush of The Weeknd concert goers arrived shortly before the concert was scheduled to begin.

There was a crush when they attempted to push through the metal doors at Gate 2, and some ticket holders were turned away.

Flash released a statement on Instagram, which was later retracted. 
Flash released a statement on Instagram, which was later retracted. 

Flash said there were instances of “inappropriate fan behaviour” in a statement it released on Instagram, which it later deleted. They did not respond to the question of whether those who missed the concert would be offered a refund.

Some angry ticket holders said the issue had occurred because a larger number of concert passes had been issued than du Arena, which has a capacity of 35,000, can accommodate.

"It was a bad [decision] to give additional two tickets extra … lesson to be learnt," one user commented on Instagram.

Others said that arriving early for the concert was not feasible when the races finished just before 8 and it can take time to travel to the arena.

"The Formula 2 race finishes at 19:45. Will ticket holders still be able to get in with their paid ticket at this time? Or do they have to skip the F1 events to make these concerts?" another user commented.

Elsewhere on Yas Island, ticket holders for the performance of American-Moroccan rapper French Montana at Mad nightclub were turned away at the door for arriving “too late”.

They were left disappointed and angry as it had not been made clear that purchasing a ticket did not guarantee entry, but the club said they had reached full capacity at 2am and anyone who arrived later was asked to wait until others had left the club.

“I had a ticket to see French Montana last night at Mad and when we got there people who had paid for tickets were being turned away,” said Ella Rose, 23, a financial onboarding specialist who had flown in from London for the F1 weekend.

“We were told no one else was going to be let in.”

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Read more:

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Weekend — all the latest updates on and off the track

Crowd crush at venue entrance to The Weekend concert at Du Arena

Abu Dhabi GP concerts: The Weeknd brings his star power to UAE capital

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Ms Rose had bought her ticket last week through Virgin Megastore for Dh200, and men's tickets were priced at Dh450.

“It’s pretty terrible considering we paid quite a bit and I’m a huge French Montana fan,” Ms Rose said.

A club spokesperson said the policy was necessary for safety reasons.

“Everybody is advised to come early," they said.

"To guarantee entry they need to enter as soon as possible. If they come at 2.30am they come at their own risk."

It was unclear whether refunds would be available, but ticket holders were encourage to contact Virgin Megastore.