U2 Fans Get Reparations

Vancouver’s BC Place and Ticketmaster are offering disgruntled U2 fans an apology and compensation in the form of a gift card, sports tickets and F&B vouchers after long holdups with the paperless ticketing system at the May 12 show forced some fans to miss Mumford & Sons’ opening set.

The concert at the 54,500-capacity venue was the first time BC Place had used Ticketmaster’s credit-card entry procedure, in which ticketholders must show the credit card used to make the purchase and their ID to get in. The system is designed to combat ticket scalpers and online bots. BC Place spokesman Duncan Blomfield told Pollstar that, to the venue’s knowledge, the event marked the largest deployment of the credit-card entry procedure at a venue in North America.

The lines to get into the venue moved so slowly that thousands of fans were still stuck outside while Mumford and Sons performed, according to the Vancouver Sun. The paper reports that there was confusion about the lines, “particularly for general-admission entry to the stadium floor.” One fan tweeted that he waited three hours to get into BC Place, according to Georgia Straight

U2 @ ‘Bono-roo’
Amy Harris/Invision/AP
– U2 @ ‘Bono-roo’
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

“There were obviously varying accounts so for some people it was approximately an hour and a half,” Blomfield said. “The vast majority of guests proceeded without problem, in less than 15 minutes. There was a select group that were inconvenienced.”

Ticketholders who have contacted the venue and have a “significant, verifiable concern” have received an email from BC Place Guest Relations and Ticketmaster offering a $50 gift card for each ticket purchased, which can be used for any event at any venue sold by Ticketmaster on Ticketmaster.ca or Ticketmaster.com. BC Place is also offering these fans a complimentary ticket to either a BC Lions game or a Whitecaps FC match during the 2017 or 2018 regular seasons, as well as a $20 food and beverage voucher.

The Sun points out that BC Place’s preliminary report about what led to the long lines shows that “the one unique factor was the ticketing protocol.” A final report will be released to the public.

Blomfield said that paperless ticketing at BC Place is on hold for the time being and will not be used at upcoming concerts for Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, or Coldplay.

“We won’t be using the system until we can guarantee it will meet the needs of the facility and our guests,” he said.

The venue plans to work collaboratively with Ticketmaster to ensure the credit-card entry system is a much smoother process once it is reinstated.

“This was an anomaly for hosting large events,” Blomfield said.  We’ve hosted many, many large events, including FIFA Women’s World Cup, and large concerts on a regular scale without any issue. And so this unique circumstance is certainly not how we like to do business but we’re making sure it doesn’t happen again moving forward.”

The Vancouver concert was the first stop of U2’s “Joshua Tree Tour 2017” celebrating the 30th anniversary of the band’s 1987 album.

Ticketmaster was not available for comment.