Westlife concert organizers respond to criticisms

By Phong Kieu   November 22, 2023 | 01:00 am PT
Organizers of Irish pop group Westlife’s concerts in Ho Chi Minh City have responded to concert-goers’ complaints about restricted views of the stage, an irrational ticket map, and dirty seats.

Before the first of two shows at Thong Nhat Stadium even began on Tuesday, frustrated attendees were already demanding refunds, arguing that the technical team’s tents interfered with views of the stage.

"There were initially no plans for the technical team’s tents," said Do Thu Giang, a representative of AMO Vietnam, the company that planned and put on the show.

"Shortly before the concert started, Westlife’s entourage asked us to prepare the tents to protect their sound systems in case of rain."

According to Giang, organizers then relocated audiences whose views were obstructed by the tents to other seats with better views, which she argued did "not affect their experiences."

She also said the organizers now have another plan for the event’s second night on Wednesday.

Tents set up by the concert organizers’ technical team, which audience members said obstructed views of the stage. Photo by Phong Kieu

Tents set up by the concert organizers’ technical team, which audience members said obstructed views of the stage. Photo by Phong Kieu

Many attendees had also previously criticized organizers for announcing last week that they were adding last-minute standing-room tickets for the event that were both closer to the stage and less expensive than seats sold earlier.

The newly-added standing tickets were sold for VND600,000 ($24.78) each, while seats bought earlier, as the only option at the point, cost between VND850,000-4 million.

Giang said the standing tickets were cheaper because fully enjoying the show would be more difficult in the standing area than in the more comfortable seated sections.

The audience also complained about dirty chairs, to which Giang said it rained in Ho Chi Minh City the day before the concert, leaving organizers without time to clean all of the seats before the show’s start.

She added that many viewers who reported dirty chairs were also those who then trespassed into closed sections of the stadium.

She guaranteed that organizers would fix the problems before the second, also the last, concert begins on Wednesday.

Westlife landed in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday to a warm welcome from local fans. They are set to travel to India, the next stop on their "The Wild Dreams Tour," after finishing their two concert nights in Vietnam.

Irish pop group Westlife. Photo from Westlife Facebook

Irish pop group Westlife. Photo from Westlife Facebook

Scores of concert-goers arrived at the venue several hours before showtime on Tuesday to queue in lines for entrance to the stadium. Many had prepared glow sticks, ready to see their favorite artists in real life after decades of admiration.

This two-gig show marks Westlife’s second time performing in Vietnam, after their 2011 show in Hanoi as part of their "Gravity Tour."

Westlife was formed in 1998 in Dublin with five members. The group disbanded in 2012 before reuniting in 2018. The group's current members are Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne.

Westlife holds four Guinness World Records, including being the 21st-century’s top-selling group in the United Kingdom.

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