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B.C. Place admits U2 concert crowd debacle 'not acceptable,' reviewing stadium entry plan

Derrick Penner

Fans show their displeasure at the long waits to get into B.C. Place to watch U2 open it's The Joshua Tree North American Tour, Vancouver, May 12, 2017. (Gerry Kahrmann /Postmedia Network)

Fans show their displeasure at the long waits to get into B.C. Place to watch U2 open it's The Joshua Tree North American Tour, Vancouver, May 12, 2017. (Gerry Kahrmann /Postmedia Network)

A B.C. Place spokesman acknowledges that the stadium's response to the crowd debacle outside its gates for last Friday's U2 and Mumford and Sons concert didn't meet its standards, but didn't offer much more of an explanation for how it happened.

In an e-mailed statement to Postmedia, Duncan Blomfield repeated that the key problem rested with implementing Ticketmaster's credit-card entry procedure to the May 12 concert, but with little detail about what the problems were.

As a result, massive crowds gathered around stadium gates with thousands of frustrated guests confused about where to get into lineups, particularly for general-admission entry to the stadium floor. Thousands were still outside when opening act Mumford and Sons took to the stage.

"This was not acceptable and falls well bellow the standard of service we expect to deliver," Blomfield said.

In the statement, Blomfield said B.C. Place has received complaints from many attendees about their experience. Along with a repeat of its apology, stadium officials said "we will continue to respond to all inquiries on an individual basis," though he did not say how complaints are being resolved.

Social media lit up with complaints about the confused crowds and what seemed to be lack of response from B.C. Place officials to try to sort them out starting early Friday evening. Attendees continued to voice their frustration over the weekend and into early this week.

Many upset fans contacted Postmedia to express their disappointment over their experience, particularly for being stuck outside B.C. Place and missing most or all of Mumford and Sons' performance, which was what some were looking forward to as much as seeing U2.

While the ticketless, credit-card entry system isn't new, Blomfield said last Friday's U2 concert was its first and largest use at a stadium-sized event in North America. He added that B.C. Place did work with Ticketmaster to roll out the system, including additional training for staff.

Blomfield said the stadium also had more staff than at any previous concert "with this configuration."

Many fans who complained were frustrated that B.C. Place seemed to be using a small number of gates to get so many fans inside, but Blomfield said the gates that weren't open were either backstage or needed as emergency exits.

"With regard to (general admission) and the entry capacity assigned to the floor, this has been used successfully for other major events in the building," Blomfield wrote in the statement. "Moving forward, we are reviewing our full entry plan for all upcoming events."

Blomfield said the staff and Ticketmaster "are working diligently to review all contributing factors and address these moving forward."

Specifically, Blomfield said B.C. Place won't be using the credit-card entry system for upcoming events "until we are confident it is able to meet the needs of our guests."

depenner@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/derrickpenner