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Mon 8 Nov 2010 12:00 AM

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Concert cred

As I write this, I’m almost giddy with excitement at the events set to take place over the next few months.

Concert cred

As I write this, I’m almost giddy with excitement at the events
set to take place over the next few months. Purple Rain and November Rain - what
more could a Prince and Guns N’ Roses fan ask for?

But under the flashy, headline-grabbing surface of our burgeoning
concert sector is an annoying little crack that threatens to leave holes in the
industry’s credibility.

Organisation is probably not one of the Middle
East’s strong points. A positive, can-do outlook, yes, but attention
to detail is something we frequently sweep under the carpet. As reported elsewhere
in S&S this month, Flash Entertainment’s forced cancellation of the DJ Tiesto
gig at ADNEC left a slew of unhappy punters in its wake. The Twitter-sphere lit
up with fans venting their frustrations and even the DJ himself faced a flood of
messages requesting answers as to why the gig was cancelled, and when he’d come
back.

Now, I’m not suggesting the fault here lies with Flash, because
the most obvious scape goat is ADNEC, for failing to detect and resolve any issues
with the venue earlier. But accidents do happen and problems do arise, so perhaps
we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

But perhaps not. I can’t help but feel that incidents like this
seriously impact the region’s event credibility, especially when they’re coupled
with earlier incidents such as Tiesto’s other failed Middle East concert in Bahrain in 2007.
Rod Stewart’s recent Dubai
concert was marred by complaints over the lack of port-a-loos and insufficient catering
– although most admit that Rod the Mod was as entertaining as ever. Even sporting
events have faced criticism. The tragic death of US
swimmer Fran Crippen during the Marathon Swimming World Cup in Fujairah last month saw one of his fellow swimmers slam the
organisation and safety of the event, labelling the whole thing “disastrous”.

Hiccups in getting an event underway smoothly will only add to
the challenge of getting artists to travel to this part of the world in the first
place. The only road ahead will be to demand better planning and organisation at
every link in the event production chain – from venues, to kit-hire companies and
right down the line to caterers and security staff.

After all, I suspect Axl Rose will be more than enough to keep
organisers hands full during his trip in December.

Brooke Sever, is the editor for Sound & Stage Middle East.

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