x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

One Direction Dubai tickets go on sale to fanfare and a sleepless night for hundreds

'I’m going to guard these tickets with my life,' says Dari De Anda, from Mexico, who queued for 14 hours to be the first to get her hands on One Direction tickets on sale at the Mall of the Emirates.

Dari De Anda, 15, from Mexico, smiles as she becomes the first to collect her ticket. One Direction fans and parents queued up for hours at Virgin Megastore at the Mall of the Emirates to get their hands on concert tickets for the British band’s Dubai show next year. Antonie Robertson/ The National
Dari De Anda, 15, from Mexico, smiles as she becomes the first to collect her ticket. One Direction fans and parents queued up for hours at Virgin Megastore at the Mall of the Emirates to get their hands on concert tickets for the British band’s Dubai show next year. Antonie Robertson/ The National

DUBAI // Some had been in line for many long hours through the night, but it was the final few seconds before they could get their hands on One Direction tickets that proved to be the most agonising.

More than 3,000 fans lined up outside the Virgin Megastore in Mall of the Emirates from the early hours of Thursday.

As the morning wore on, more joined the line which snaked in front of Ski Dubai, until fans greeted the opening of the box office at 6am with a huge cheer.

Dari De Anda, from Mexico, and her friend Hannah Edmondson, from South Africa, both 15, were the first to get tickets to next year’s show by the boy band.

They were so determined to go to the event that they began their vigil in front of the shop at 4.30pm on Wednesday.

“We found out about the One Direction concert in class and first there was silence and no one could believe it, and then we all cheered,” said Hannah. “I’m so excited and grateful that we have managed to get tickets.”

Hannah had brought her pyjamas and a pillow to try to make the 14-hour wait a little more comfortable. “I didn’t get any sleep at all,” she said.

“I’ve just been too excited and now to finally get the tickets in my hands, it’s been worth it.”

Dari’s mother Karla joined the girls at about 9pm on Wednesday.

“There were a couple of people who arrived when we did and then more people started coming from about 11pm,” said Mrs De Anda.

“They have been so excited since they heard about the band coming, and I think they will really enjoy the concert.”

For Dari it is a chance to see Harry Styles in the flesh for the first time.

“We’ve been fans of the band since the beginning, so there was no way we were going to miss this,” she said.

“They are a real band, and they don’t act like big stars. They’re a nice band and I like every thing about Harry, in particular. I’m going to guard these tickets with my life.”

Emirati Hamad Al Afari, 14, and his little sister Sara, 11, had travelled from Abu Dhabi a day earlier to ensure they would get tickets.

“My mum was told that the tickets would be going on sale later in Abu Dhabi so she decided it would be better if we came to Dubai,” said Hamad.

“We’ve been in the line since 2am and we’ve been keeping ourselves entertained by listening to the band’s songs but I’m not as big a fan as my sister.”

Sara has followed the British and Irish band for the last two years with Harry being her favourite.

“I really like their music and I’m so excited for the concert,” she said.

“I wanted to go to the concert as soon as I heard they were coming and, even though we have been waiting for so many hours, this has been the best day of my life.”

The youngsters were in line to buy five diamond-class tickets, costing Dh1,000 each, and two silver-class tickets at Dh300 a piece.

“These are for friends and family,” said Hamad. “We are going to make a real day out of it.”

Fiona Cameron, from the UK, arrived at 2.10am with a friend to find that they were 16th in line.

They came prepared with foldable chairs, books and iPads to keep themselves entertained throughout the night.

“It has been surprisingly well organised and we have been getting regular updates from the organisers on what is going on and when we would be able to get the tickets,” said Mrs Cameron, who is a teacher at Jebel Ali Primary School.

She was buying tickets on behalf of her nine and six-year-old daughters.

“They were really excited when they heard that the band was coming to the UAE,” she said.

“We both work as teachers so the plan was to get the tickets early so that we could be back in time for the start of school.”

nhanif@thenational.ae