Clapton fans call for bigger concert venue
Manama, February 24, 2014
Eric Clapton fans have appealed for organisers of his Bahrain concert next month to move it to a bigger venue, after the 2,000 capacity Arad Fort gig sold out in just two hours on Saturday.
The limited seating has now resulted in the emergence of a black market for Clapton tickets, with one person advertising two for BD360 ($933.6) online - just hours after they were sold for BD30, BD40 and BD50 each, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Some appear to have bought the maximum number of six tickets per person and were selling all of them for a profit through websites such as expatriates.com.
GDN readers have expressed their frustration at being unable to obtain tickets to the March 8 show, despite queueing for hours at Bahrain City Centre on Saturday morning.
Others complained that attempts to buy online were thwarted when the Spring of Culture website crashed half an hour after tickets went on sale.
Fans who missed out on tickets said they were now preparing to travel to Dubai to see Clapton in action at the 15,000-capacity Media City Amphitheatre on March 6.
However, they added that would not be necessary if only a bigger venue was chosen for the Bahrain gig - which is the highlight of this year's Spring of Culture festival.
"Like any other music enthusiast I wanted to attend the Eric Clapton concert in Bahrain, but could not get hold of tickets as they were sold out in couple of hours," a 28-year-old Indian, who asked to be identified only as Kevin, told the GDN.
"Why can't they just change the venue to a bigger place that can accommodate more people?"
A 49-year-old British expat, who has lived in Bahrain for 10 years and wished to remain anonymous, described the event as a "debacle".
"The Eric Clapton booking was a debacle, though with persistence many did get tickets," he said.
"In comparison, there are never issues for major artists preforming in the UAE with 10 times the number of tickets.
"Why does Spring of Culture have a problem?
"The bigger question is why does the country spend money bringing artists like Clapton and not put him in a venue large enough to cope with demand, like the National Stadium?
"It would be really great to have pictures of a huge event of 10,000 people or more - it would attract more artists and more tourism."
A 27-year-old British fan, who also asked not to be named, echoed calls to switch the show to a bigger venue.
"I briefly tried to get tickets online on Saturday, but I heard they were sold out," he said.
"My entire family tried to get tickets.
"They really should have made it an event at a different venue, not Arad Fort.
"They could have attracted 10 times the amount of people, but opted to choose a venue for just 2,000.
"It would have been a great success."
One disappointed fan, who asked to be identified only as Harris, said he was raised on Clapton's music and would have loved to see him live.
"The disappointing thing was that you went to the Spring of Culture website and they asked you to 'like' the page on Facebook," said the 30-year-old.
"But there's no information on there. Then I checked yesterday and it was sold out.
"It's frustrating because these are people who come once in a lifetime to Bahrain."
However, 25-year-old Suzanne Wilbrink told the GDN she understood the frustration but said it was inevitable that not everyone would get tickets. "I understand the disappointment, but this is just how it works," she said.
"Everyone feels entitled when the reality is, and always was, that they had a very small chance of getting a ticket." - TradeArabia News Service