Westlife apologise to angry fans forced to stand due to seating blunder

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Irish band Westlife arrives at London's Leicester Square Odeon West End Cinema for the British premiere of Michael Jackson's "This Is It" on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

Westlife issued an onstage apology to hundreds of furious fans forced to “stand or go home” at their latest concert.

Concertgoers who turned out to see the boyband - famous for performing while sitting on stools - at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro on Tuesday night were told the front row seating had failed to arrive in time. They were offered the options to stand or accept a refund.

Flying Without Wings singer Nicky Byrne told the crowd: "The options were, at 7 o’clock tonight, no show or give them the best show that we could give them, which would mean standing on the floor for you guys.

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"Rather than send you all home and postpone for another night we thought we’d just go out and give them a great show.

"We hope you don’t mind.

"So thank you for being so understanding – we really appreciate that."

Elderly and disabled concert-goers, who were physically unable to stand for the sell-out show, despite some paying £200 for a ticket.

Some fans had paid more than £1,000 for VIP experiences of the band’s Twenty Tour - which has sold-out months in advance.

Organisers blamed traffic delays preventing vital equipment - needed to make a stage level seating area - from arriving in time from the previous night’s show in Belfast.

The SSE Hydro posted a statement on its Facebook page minutes before doors opened to the concert telling fans they would have to stand or request a refund.

One group of devoted fans had to travel back to Aberdeen the same night, while others said they were offered alternative seats ‘nowhere near’ their original ones.

Westlife Performing at the Smash Hits Awards (Photo by © Rune Hellestad/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Furious fan Sophie Campbell does not go to gigs often due because of her asthma but made an exception to see Westlife with her disabled mother Margo.

Sophie paid for front row ­tickets but when she arrived was told to stand and claims staff refused to give her disabled mother a wheelchair to sit in.

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Sophie said: "I don’t go to concerts to stand because my asthma is too bad, small enclosed spaces don’t work for me.

"I was told when I got here I could stand or get a full refund. That’s all.

"I asked for a wheelchair for my disabled mother and was told she can either deal with it and stand or go home and come back to the Hydro tomorrow for a refund, so I’ve got to drive all way back to Glasgow for a refund."

A spokesperson for the SSE Hydro said: "The seating layout for tonight’s Westlife show was changed due to unexpected transport delays.

"For ticketholders who did not wish to or were unable to stand, full refunds are available from the original point of purchase.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused."