Take That fans camp out at Ashton Gate 36 hours ahead of weekend gigs

Take That fans have started to camp out at Ashton Gate Stadium this morning, Friday 7  June 2024
-Credit: (Image: PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC)


The party has started early for scores of Take That fans, who have arrived for the band’s two shows at Ashton Gate up to 36 hours before the gates even open.

They are camping together at the entrance to the Bristol stadium, in the hope of a prime spot in the front row of the show on Saturday night.

The first arrived on Thursday evening, and have since been joined by more than 50 others who came on Friday morning, straight from watching the band play in Swansea on Thursday night.

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Anita Morrissey-Booth, who arrived on Thursday, said the group of Take That fans - known as Thatters - know each other well, and a gig is like a reunion. “We follow them around the country,” she explained. “And what’s great about it is that you can come and meet up with people you’ve met before in the queue for previous concerts and tours. People will come on their own and soon be with other people, there’s a real sense of community and we all look out for each other.

“We had a great night last night, it’s like a party already, and because more of us have come from the Swansea gig today, it’ll be a great night tonight too,” she added.

Take That fans have started to camp out at Ashton Gate Stadium this morning, Friday 7  June 2024, with some even pitching up on Wednesday night ahead of the bands concert on Saturday
Take That fans have started to camp out at Ashton Gate Stadium this morning, Friday 7 June 2024, with some even pitching up on Thursday night ahead of the bands concert on Saturday -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

The group of fans is almost entirely women, although not quite - there are some husbands and partners along for the experience too - and they organise themselves. The first to arrive gives themselves the number one, and each new arrival marks their hand with the order in which they joined the ‘queue’ of tents.

That number is then written on the wristbands for entry they receive when the gates open at 3pm on Saturday, but there’s a two-hour gap between the stadium opening its gates and 5pm, when access to the pitch and the stage itself is opened. Stadium staff facilitate the queueing, and will walk these superfans onto the pitch to make sure they get their prime spots at the front first.

Take That fans have started to camp out at Ashton Gate Stadium this morning, Friday 7  June 2024
Take That fans have started to camp out at Ashton Gate Stadium this morning, Friday 7 June 2024 -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

“We will all getting together from all over the country and we will see each other in these little camps,” explained Anita. “What’s lovely is that you can be in the front row in front of the stage and look along and it’s all your friends experiencing it together.”

The Thatters phenomenon means it’s very often the same faces in the front row for each Take That concert, something the fans say the trio recognise. “They see us each time, and there’s a lot of banter, it’s great,” added Anita.

Rachael Wilkins, from Bournemouth, was number 42 in line for the Take That concert at Ashton Gate Stadium
Rachael Wilkins, from Bournemouth, was number 42 in line for the Take That concert at Ashton Gate Stadium -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

Rachael Wilkins, from Bournemouth, was number 42 in line - the number on her hand. She went to the concert in Swansea on Thursday night so only arrived on Friday morning. “We number ourselves, then they will give us the wristbands tomorrow and then they will let us in two-by-two slowly, so we can choose and pick where we want to stand in the stadium. So the earlier you get here the better,” she explained. The aim? “To be as close to Mark Owen as possible,” she added.

The location of the impromptu camp is described as 'ideal' by the seasoned Take That campers. "Where we have to camp in Newcastle is horrible," said one fan, "it's a dogging location, so that's a bit dodgy. Here we've got a nice spot, there's loads of people around, we've got Iceland and KFC, shops nearby, and all the temporary toilets for the concert itself are just round the corner," she added.

Jennifer Jacques, left, from Wakefield, is number 38 in the queue outside Ashton Gate for the Take That gig on Saturday night, and camping with her niece Taylor Paton
Jennifer Jacques, left, from Wakefield, is number 38 in the queue outside Ashton Gate for the Take That gig on Saturday night, and camping with her niece Taylor Paton -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

Jennifer Jacques is number 38 in the queue, and is coming from Wakefield, with her niece Taylor Paton. The Saturday show will be Jennifer’s fourth of the tour so far - she was at Swansea on Thursday and has previously seen them this year in Middlesbrough and Leeds.

“We got here at half six this morning,” she explained. “I have been obsessed with them since I was 11 years old, I have always loved them. My first concert was in 1993. I’ll get close to the front or at the front at the very least,” she explained.