Crowd raises security concerns, internal review by John Cain Arena management

“It didn’t even feel like a concert,” commented another concertgoer, “it felt like a panic attack.”

Georgia Martin, 20, said she felt let down by promoter Frontier Touring and Melbourne Olympic Parks’ handling of the event. “Management underestimated demand for the event,” she said. “It wasn’t good enough for an arena where events like this happen regularly.”

Lacy at the Grammy Awards in January 2020. His star has since risen above expectations.

Lacy at the Grammy Awards in January 2020. His star has since risen above expectations.Credit:Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Certainly, Steve Lacy’s rise to public attention has taken everyone by surprise. When his Australian tour was announced in September, he was booked to play at the Forum, which has a capacity of around 2,000 people, and two more shows – one each in Brisbane and Sydney – at similarly sized venues. But after tickets sold out in minutes, the promoter moved to bigger venues and added a second show at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

Tuesday night’s Melbourne show, the first of the tour, was moved to the John Cain Arena, which has a capacity of between 7,500 and 10,900 guests, depending on configuration.

Lacy’s popularity with young fans is due to his recognizable lyrics and clean production – and appeal to sampling. His song Bad habit has become a TikTok sensation, sampled in its original form in 621,000 separate posts and in an accelerated version in an additional 441,000 TikToks.

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On Thursday, November 17, Ticketek and Frontier emailed customers to inform them that all tickets for the Melbourne show would be general admission.

Access to the floor depended on patrons being given a wristband, but numbers were limited. To get one, some fans started queuing from 5am. However, The age has been told that some ticket holders appeared to have forged wristbands to gain access to the floor.

Following Tuesday night’s events John Cain Arena manager Melbourne and Olympic Parks and Frontier Touring issued a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“Our site management team had developed a detailed plan to manage access to the site,” they said. “Unfortunately, once the doors opened, some guests at the back of the queue pushed forward, causing a crowd at the entrance.”

While it said that “no crowd-related injuries have been reported”, the statement added that “Melbourne and Olympic Parks will be reviewing our general admission event entry process, to ensure we continue to deliver on our commitment to provide a provide a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone who attends our locations.”

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