Fans struggle buying tickets for Westlife HCMC concert

By Tan Cao   September 27, 2023 | 11:16 pm PT
Many of Vietnam’s Westlife fans have not been able to reserve a slot to the Irish boy band’s concert in HCMC due to the tickets’ high demand and technical issues.

Tickets to the show went on sale at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. According to the event organizers, around 30% of available tickets found their owners after only 30 minutes, and there was only one ticket class still available for sale at 12 p.m.

At the same time, many fans reported that they could not buy the tickets due to technical issues they experienced during the purchasing process, including website crashes and errors in the online payment process.

Bui Huynh Minh Phong, from the southern town of Bien Hoa, and his three friends are among those that had this problem.

Bui Huynh Minh Phong trying to buy tickets to the Westlife HCMC concert with his devices on September 26, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Tan Cao

Bui Huynh Minh Phong trying to buy tickets to the Westlife HCMC concert with his devices on September 26, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Tan Cao

The group of friends initially aimed for the affordable 1.6-million-dong ($65) tickets. They accessed the ticket portal Ticketbox exactly at 9 a.m., but there were already over 5,000 people in the queue. They then could not complete the payment process and lost connection to the website shortly after that.

They immediately tried accessing the website one more time, only to realize that their queuing number had dramatically risen to 20,652. They waited for another hour, before eventually feeling exhausted from the process and accepting that they would not be able to buy tickets from the platform.

"We all felt disappointed and sad," Phong said.

The group is now considering buying tickets from black market sellers if the price difference isn’t too large.

"Otherwise, we have to accept that we will miss this chance to see Westlife in real life," Phong said.

Irish boy band Westlife. Photo from Westlife Facebook

Irish boy band Westlife. Photo from Westlife Facebook

Chieu Ngan, 32, a resident of HCMC’s District 4, wanted to buy three 2.1-million-dong tickets. She tried using her three devices, including a mobile phone and two laptops, hoping to raise her chance of getting her hands on the tickets.

"None of them was able to help me complete the purchasing process on the ticket portal," Ngan said.

Despite that, she still maintained her hope of finding tickets to the show as the event is still two months away.

The event organizers announced on September 21 that 15,000 seated tickets would be distributed to audiences through ticket portal Ticketbox only. Each successful login would be eligible to buy six tickets and complete their payment within 10 minutes, they said.

According to the organizers, tickets would be distributed digitally only, and purchasers would be asked to provide their email addresses, so that the tickets could be sent to them directly.

The organizers also recommended the audience to directly purchase tickets through the official portal in order to avoid frauds.

Westlife announced on their Facebook accounts September 19 that they would hold a concert in HCMC as part of their "The Wild Dreams Tour," making Vietnam one of their eight stops in Asia along with Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand.

This is the second time the Irish boy group will perform in Vietnam, after their 2011 show in Hanoi as part of their "Gravity Tour."

The setlist is expected to include many of the group’s best hits, from "My Love," "If I Let You Go," to "Flying Without Wings" and "Soledad."

Details about the group’s schedules in Vietnam have not been announced yet. However, event organizers said the preparation process has already started.

Westlife were formed in 1998 in Dublin, Ireland with five members. The group disbanded in 2012 before reuniting again in 2018. The current members of the group are Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne.

They are holders of four Guinness World Records, including the top-selling group in the 21st century in the United Kingdom.

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