You’re not going to get a review of the show. That’s because I never made it onto the floor or the stands. Although they deny it, the show was oversold. They sold 17,000 tickets. According to Wikipedia the venue holds 14,000. That means they expected 3000 people to be able to stand on the tennis courts. The doors opened at 5pm and allowed a limited number of people onto the floor. Then everyone had to go up to the stands. By the time Mrs. Devereaux made it there at about 7pm she texted me to say it was horribly overcrowded. There were two opening acts (The Vaccines and Bear’s Den) starting at 6pm. At 8pm Mumford & Sons were scheduled to take the stage.
I couldn’t get there before 8pm. When I got to the venue they wouldn’t let me up any of the stairs to get to the stands. The floor was closed to any more people also. The lines for the port-a-potties were 45 minutes to an hour. At first the stairs were crowded with patrons trying to get into the stands. Finally security realized the danger and made the stairs off-limits.
So if you made it out of the stands for beer or food then you couldn’t get back in. That couldn’t have made the vendors happy since people would then stay in the stands and not buy anything.
I made it over to the closest exit where five security people were standing. I asked where I could get a refund. They had no idea. Probably customer service. Where was customer service? They had no idea. I asked them to contact a supervisor. No one had a radio. Not a single security person in the venue had a radio. What if someone got hurt? What if there was an emergency? The beer vendors all had radios and were talking to each other.
As I waited for someone to contact a supervisor (they assured me that one of them had gone to get one) several other people joined me. We were quite a group. I watched as the people in the venue got more and more out of hand. At one point several police showed up to deal with a very drunk patron. Then one of policemen had himself a lobster roll. Most of the police were outside dealing with traffic and the residents (who were not so happy about having their streets blocked off).
After 45 minutes had gone by I saw a man with a red STAFF shirt walk by and he had a radio. He was a supervisor. More than 45 minutes for a supervisor to check up on that section of the venue? Was there only one supervisor for the entire security crew?
None of the security people near me flagged him down. I had to run after him myself. I asked the supervisor where I could get a refund. He told me to go to customer service. I told him that no one knew where customer service was. He said it was near the main entrance. I walked over to the main entrance and there someone directed me to customer service.
At customer service the line was only one to two people deep. There were several people on laptops taking everyone’s email and phone information. It was very efficient. It was as if they had expected this to happen and they were ready for it.
Before midnight I received this in my email:
We are writing to acknowledge some issues with tonight’s Mumford & Sons concert at Forest Hills Stadium. As many of you know, this was the first show in many years at the stadium, and we collectively experienced the growing pains that come with re-opening a new venue.
We hope you enjoyed the show, but we will gladly offer full refunds to those of you who did not have an optimal experience at the stadium. We can assure you that we are working with City Officials and City Agencies to improve conditions and make sure everyone who comes to a show in Forest Hills has the best experience possible.
If you would like a refund, please contact Front Gate Tickets Support.
On behalf of the West Side Tennis Club, WSTC Events, Bowery Presents and Mumford & Sons, we apologize for any difficulties and thank you for taking the chance on joining us for this historic concert.
We hope to see you again soon.
At least they did the right thing.
I had been looking forward to this show for several reasons. One is that the venue is near me so finally I could walk home from a concert. I knew that there would be some problems with the residents – it hadn’t been used for concerts in maybe 15 years. It is in a private residential community that does not want to be overrun with outsiders.
This was a dangerous situation that could easily have become horrific. Unless assurances are made that all security will have radios and that the venue is not oversold I will not attend another concert there and I warn all of you not to go there either.
Here is a photo that Mrs. Devereaux took inside the stadium.
This is all I got to see.
By Carene Lydia Lopez