Bruce Springsteen promoter apologises to fans stuck in queues as Croke Park concert began

Glare on ticket scanners is cited as a factor by organisers as fans criticise ‘shambles’ outside stadium

The promoter of Bruce Springsteen’s concert in Dublin has apologised to thousands of fans who were left raging in the dark after they found themselves still queuing outside Croke Park as the Boss and his band took to the stage on Sunday evening.

The climax of Spingsteen’s Irish tour which saw the singer and his E Street band perform in front of more than 200,000 fans in Cork, Kilkenny, Belfast and Dublin was played at a blistering pace under warm sunshine.

However, as the concert got under way at 7.15pm – some 15 minutes later than planned – pictures and videos of long queues on the approach roads to Croke Park started appearing on social media.

The queues, combined with the absence of any information as to what was going on, left many people fuming.

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A number of people who spoke to The Irish Times described the queues at the gates as a “shambles”.

Concert promoter Peter Aiken apologised for the delays people experienced and said, while some of the issues that led to the delays were beyond his staff’s control, he accepted complete responsibility for what had gone wrong.

“The doors opened at 4pm and almost immediately there were around 10,000 people in the venue but by 6pm there were still only around 25,000 of the 82,000 there. I was looking at my phone and on social media and wondering where everyone was,” he told The Irish Times.

Between 6pm and the scheduled start time of 7pm, there was a surge in the numbers coming through the security cordons around the stadium.

Unusually for an event of this scale, all the tickets had to be checked by stewards some distance from the stadium which added to the long queues that formed along Clonliffe Road leading towards the stadium.

There were also delays when it came to scanning of the electronic tickets with bright sunshine shining on phone screens significantly slowing down the process.

On a normal day, a ticket can be scanned in a couple of seconds but because of the glare, the process was taking in excess of 15 seconds which added to the delays, Mr Aiken said.

“It was simply a case that the scanners couldn’t pick up the tickets as fast as they normally do,” Mr Aiken said. “It was bad, there’s no two ways about it. It was bad, and by the time Bruce Springsteen came on stage around 70,000 tickets had been scanned with the remainder finished within 20 minutes of the start of the show.

“It wasn’t good enough. There were people from all over the country coming to see him and while everyone was in within the first 20 minutes nobody would want to miss any of it.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor