Too late to say I'm sorry now? Bieber’s concert a mismanagement horror

So Justin Bieber performed in Mumbai last night. His debut in India. Oh the hype. Right from when the tickets opened up for sale on 22 February to all the media attention leading up from then, to welcome music’s biggest gift to pop on 10 May 2017 in Mumbai. The concert was poised to blow everyone away. Except it didn’t quite.


The saga of disappointment began with promises that were never met. Organizers White Fox India had outsourced ticket management to BookMyShow. The company was to provide end-to-end ticketing solutions – right from ticket printing, home delivery of tickets to on-ground management of the event including gate entry management. Several people had not received their tickets till the day of the concert and were compelled to reach the venue early and queue up for tickets at the box office. Normally queues at concerts are not an outlandish sight, but the ticket home delivery was an incentive that people had paid a premium for but undeservedly denied.

The car parking allocated for the event was a twenty-minute walk from DY Patil stadium, the concert venue. Teenage girls scrambling in high heels and dresses and sweaty adults gasping for breath didn’t exactly set the mood for the show. Vehicle traffic, however, was routed well with well-defined diversions and distinct signage.

Once inside the venue, the stark absence of a crowd management plan left no option but to brace oneself and brave into the sea of Beliebers. The platinum zone capacity was 6000 people while the gold zone was 3000. But seems the organizers had sold more tickets for platinum as a result of which the platinum was spilling into gold making for one hot mess. “I was the 95th person to buy the tickets because my daughters are devoted Bieber fans. I bought tickets for the VIP 3 category which was along the ramp and paid Rs 36000 a pop. To my surprise there was no such zone and we were part of the platinum herd along with 375 others like us. I wanted my daughters to have a good view of the stage therefore had opted for this category. Sadly the only view they got was of the backs of towering adults”, says Rahul Gomes, father of two disappointed Beliebers.

“It was a ‘wet blanket phenomenon’ where one experienced the illusion of being comforted but was actually in agonizing pain”, said another attendee. “My kids were constantly being elbowed out and I was forced to hoist them on my shoulders. It was a battleground. I honestly hope Bieber doesn’t come back soon to India, or least till I can heal my sore back”.

Attendees had been pre-informed that drinking water will be freely distributed at the venue but on the day there was no water, only Redbull. “I wouldn’t have my kids drinking Redbull, that is not a substitute for drinking water, especially for children”, added Gomes.

Another attendee, Chaitanya D, from Mumbai stated “I coughed up Rs 7500 for my silver zone ticket and was naturally expecting some great production but it was nothing spectacular. I had attended Coldplay in Mumbai last November and that blew me away, Bieber was okay, nothing special. Also I was expecting some form of alcohol to be available considering the many beverage partners. Turns out alcohol was only being served in VIP zones. For me that was the hardest blow.”

The organizers, White Fox India, had also promised free merchandise to several premium category ticket holders but failed to deliver on that promise too enraging several attendees.

“The toilets were disgusting to say the least”, added Chaitanya. “I am a regular at music festivals and have made peace with porta-potties no matter how uncomfortable I am using confined spaces to do the job. But overflowing toilet bowls and defunct taps in dilapidated establishments is where I draw the line”.

“Thank heavens I got my pass for free. It would have been very upsetting to shell out Rs 7500 for this experience”, said Kunal M, who was an invitee at the event.

The only respite in all this was Bieber’s 90-minute performance where he and his crew made the ordeal well worth it. That said, it didn’t take long for people to catch on that he lip-synced through majority of his performance. Either that or his voice hasn’t changed at all since he sang Baby years ago when he himself was one!

Fans swooned and submitted to Bieber’s every command as he belted out popular hits including ‘Let me Love you’, 'Sorry’ and ‘Baby’, while several weary non-Beliebers swooned for different reasons all together.

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