Guns N' Roses concert organiser admits to woes
Co-founder of organiser behind Guns N' Roses concert admits lack of staffing and expertise and is determined to improve
With just one road leading in and out of the venue and no public transport infrastructure in sight, the Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC) is not your typical concert venue.
But Mr Ross Knudson, co-founder of LAMC Productions, which organised last Saturday's Guns N' Roses concert here, fiercely defended his choice of venue, which was used previously for just one other concert - Metallica in 2013.
"It is absolutely superior as a concert venue. There is so much more going for it. It is a flat cement surface. There is a huge lobby area to sell drinks and merchandise. It leads beautifully to an outdoor space with a picturesque beautiful location and a nice breeze," he told The New Paper yesterday.
Many of the 50,000 concert-goers thought otherwise.
Some had issues getting to and from the venue due to the congestion on Aviation Park Road, the only road that leads to the CEC.
Others were upset about the credits they had to buy in advance for the food and beverages, and which they could not use because the food and drinks ran out.
LAMC said it will refund the unused credits.
The problem with the concert - LAMC's biggest show to date - was the lack of staffing and expertise in running large-scale events, Mr Knudson conceded.
"It overwhelmed us. We needed a general in the venue, and we needed another general outside - basically military operation-style - to do it," he said.
Adding that there was miscommunication with third party vendors, he said: "I don't want to blame anybody. We want to take full responsibility, keep figuring it out and make (the venue) better for the next time we use it."
Event organisers told TNP that the venue was the concert's Achilles' heel.
Infinitus Productions director Jeffrey Foo said: "Venues like the CEC are not meant for a concert or festival because it will start and end at a certain time. A flush of participants or people leaving at the same time creates a choke point."
The Esplanade Co's Ravi Sivalingam said it works closely with Home Team agencies to manage crowds for large-scale events, such as the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown.
The head of hospitality and services said: "(Measures) include increasing security patrols and maintaining greater visibility of our security personnel so that members of the public can approach them for assistance, where necessary."
Mr Knudson said the boo-boos will not stop him from holding future events at the venue.
He will consult experts on how to make the CEC work as a concert venue.
"I love the venue, and I am determined to make it work. It is the only large-scale event venue here and it really is the most viable.
"As for the National Stadium, we have no plans to use it. It is beautiful, but it is built for soccer," he said.
Mr Foo asked for the naysayers to be more forgiving towards LAMC.
"It is important to try to understand the event producers' point of view. Of course, they don't want a great event to be tarnished by people getting stuck.
"That was what happened to some of our events in the past. It was not a good feeling," he said.
Mr Knudson apologised for not meeting the expectations of concert-goers, but said he is staying positive.
"We are going to keep trying. We got knocked down on Saturday, but we are getting up."