Aussie rock fans vent frustrations at organisation of Jimmy Barnes' Wollongong concert

ROCKED OUT: More than 6000 people bought tickets for Jimmy Barnes and friends (1500 more than expected) in Wollongong on Sunday. Picture: Adam McLean
ROCKED OUT: More than 6000 people bought tickets for Jimmy Barnes and friends (1500 more than expected) in Wollongong on Sunday. Picture: Adam McLean

Rock’n’roll fans are fuming after Yours and Owls teamed up with Zaccaria Concerts to bring Jimmy Barnes to Wollongong, but the organisation of the event failed to impress.

The musicians themselves weren’t the problem but the logistics is what “disgusted” many concert-goers who vented their anger on both event organiser’s Facebook pages as well as the Illawarra Mercury’s page.

Many said they waited more than an hour to get into the venue despite lining up when the gates opened at 2pm; there were hour-long queues for the bar; some food stalls reportedly closed at 6:30pm; the sound coming through the speakers was reportedly substandard; and views to the stage were obstructed.

“Worst run event I’ve ever been to. Yours and Owls should be ashamed of themselves! Bands were great but sound quality was appalling. Poor Mental as Anything played to half an audience as everyone was still lined up outside waiting to get in,” ticket-holder Melanie Grant told the Illawarra Mercury.

“ … 45 min line-up for drinks, an hour to get food, a tent and the hill blocking views, port-a-loos with no toilet paper, no speakers in the middle or back of the park, only the front. Absolutely disgusting.”

Yours and Owls did post a “thank you so much for your patience” on their Facebook at 3:48pm Sunday, though stirred a negative a response drawing dozens of similar comments to Ms Grant’s.

Mental as Anything keyboardist Greedy Smith said the nature of the complaints didn’t sound very good but declined to comment to the Illawarra Mercury further as he didn’t want to get caught up in the storm.

Ian Moss performs on the line-up for the Jimmy Barnes concert at McCabe Park in Wollongong. Picture: Adam McLean

Ian Moss performs on the line-up for the Jimmy Barnes concert at McCabe Park in Wollongong. Picture: Adam McLean

Jimmy Barnes’ representatives said “they were surprised and disappointed to hear of these issues as they have had positive dealings with other outdoor events organized around Australia by this very experienced promoter”.

Yours and Owls co-founder Ben Tillman said he had spent Monday contacting disgruntled ticket-holders (see full statement below).

Zaccaria Concerts was also contacted for comment but failed to respond by the deadline.

On Sunday, Mr Tillman said ticket sales had exceeded their expectations of 5000, with more than 6000 paying to see Barnes, Mental As Anything, Daryl Braithwaite, Ian Moss and Diesel.

This is not the first time for complaints regardingYours and Owls events, with their annual music festival at North Wollongong in October often drawing criticism.

JIMMY NOT TO BLAME: Jimmy Barnes's performance was a highlight - as were many of the musicians performing in MacCabe Park - though the organisation was not applauded by fans. Picture: Adam McLean

JIMMY NOT TO BLAME: Jimmy Barnes's performance was a highlight - as were many of the musicians performing in MacCabe Park - though the organisation was not applauded by fans. Picture: Adam McLean

YOURS AND OWLS FULL STATEMENT

“I have spent my entire day personally responding to all those comments in the event and getting in touch with the people directly. We have addressed the issues & communicated it with them and 95% of the people were happy we reached out & the solution we gave them moving fwd.  

“We are incredibly disappointed to see the feedback and also disappointed in ourselves as organisers.

“We had 90% of the entire capacity of the event (around 6000 people) turn up bang on 2pm, which is unheard of. Usually crowds will fliter [sic] in over the first 3 hours of the event... not all at once, right on doors, so yes, we were unfortunately unprepared for that .... Which really sucks, and essentially is what lead to most of the other issues, i.e. the long queues & bar waiting times ... everyone came in at once, went to the bar at once & it was chaos. 

“we didnt run out of bar stock ... and food didnt run out either, perhaps some vendors did, but there were multiple food stalls so no, didnt entirely run out of food. 

“We are disappointed that everybody didnt have as good a time as they could have, the vibe in the park did feel good,  with majority of people having fun, dancing & having a good time, but the negativity of the social media did gain a bit of momentum throughout the day which is a shame. 

“We have taken into account the feedback, been in touch with the people who made comments, and any emails that came through, and if anybody elsee [sic] does want to write in then best to email info@yoursandowls.com.au”

Ben Tillman

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