Rolling Stones Vancouver attendee shares negative experience

A man who attended the Rolling Stones concert in Vancouver last Friday wants answers from the venue after his VIP experience, he says, was less than ideal.

Burnaby resident John Hall told CTV News he spent $450 on a “Tumbling Dice” VIP package billed as giving fans early entry to BC Place Stadium and some exclusive merchandise.

He and other VIP fans arrived at the arena at 4:30 p.m.—as indicated on the ticket—but were not given access to the floor for around 90 minutes.

During that time, the group, which Hall estimated to be around 1,000 people, was told to line up in an underground tunnel.

After about 15 minutes, he says the crowd was instructed to “squish together” instead of standing single file.

“And they left us there. We kept asking them, ‘When are you letting us in?’ Because we’re under the assumption we’re getting in at 4:30,” Hall said.

The hallway was humid, Hall said, and two first aid attendants eventually walked through to check on the group.

“We can’t breathe because it was a really hot day and the air was thick,” Hall said. “We were saying to them, ‘We need water, we need air’ – anything to help us.”

An arena staff member eventually brought 24 bottles of water and asked the crowd to share them, Hall said.

Staff told the VIPs they couldn’t enter the floor area because of sound check, according to Hall, who said they finally started filing in around 5:45 p.m. – but that the process took another half hour because staff checked everyone’s ticket again.

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After the VIP ticket holders got access to the floor at 6:15 p.m., other general admission attendees had to wait in line in the tunnel, which was also the access point for bathrooms, Hall said, adding “it was packed, packed, packed with people, and there was one person checking wristbands.”

“It was just a sh*t show. It was a Mickey Mouse operation.”

PavCo, the Crown corporation that runs BC Place, declined an interview with CTV News, but sent an emailed statement saying staff “are aware of the concerns raised by attendees” of the Rolling Stones show.

A spokesperson said the planned entry to the stadium floor for the VIP ticket-holders was approximately 6 p.m., but early access “within the facility” started at 4:30 p.m., during which attendees could be in the concourse, use the washrooms and “enjoy non-alcoholic beverages.”

Hall said VIP ticket-holders were escorted underground immediately upon entry and weren’t told they could leave to hang out in the concourse, and added that stepping out of line would defeat the purpose of arriving early to get the best view of the Stones.

“I didn’t see nothing about tunnel or ramp on my ticket,” Hall said.

Medical issues

Furthermore, Hall, who is 60, says he wishes BC Place staff took into account the high number of seniors who were at the Stones show.

He said he witnessed three senior women taken out of the arena by first aid staff before the concert started, as well as several people being given ice packs to cool down, and more sitting on the ground.

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Hall told CTV News he wanted to go public with his experience after learning that a 65-year-old woman died at BC Place that night. According to police, the woman went into medical distress due to a pre-existing condition.

“Staff at BC Place are trained to detect warning signs of potential health incidents, with medical personnel readily available during every event in case of emergencies,” PavCo’s statement reads.

The spokesperson said first aid staff monitored the lineups starting at 3 p.m., and checked in with people in “the ramps mentioned.”

“The stadium roof had also been open as of 7 a.m. that same day to facilitate airflow and cooling, helping to maintain comfortable conditions inside despite warm temperatures outside,” the statement concludes.

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