Organisers of North Pier Live! have apologised to audience members who were left out in the cold on Saturday night.
The two-night event took place at North Pier Theatre on Friday and Saturday nights, playing to almost 2,000 people in total.
Saturday’s show was headlined by Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro and runner-up Lucy Kay, and played to a capacity audience at the 1,400-plus venue, while on Friday the venue was around a third full for top billing act X Factor 2011 winner Matt Cardle, plus Janet Devlin and Harry Mondryk, among others.
North Pier Live! originally launched as Lytham Live! and was due to take place at Lytham Hall, but it was moved to North Pier earlier this month because of “a completely untenable situation brought about by third parties.”
But some audience members have described Saturday night as a ‘fiasco’, with hundreds of people left to queue on the windy pier for up to an hour to enter the venue with little in the way of apology or explanation.
It is understood the issue came as a result of confusion between ticketing agencies for the show and its organisers.
Due to the ticket and access issues, the 7.30pm show did not start until around 8.05pm, and as people had planned transport for the close of the show - advertised as 9.45pm - some even missed the headline acts.
Pat Evans, who is in her 80s, had booked to attend Lytham Hall but transferred her booking to North Pier to attend with a friend - where they felt ‘very badly treated’.
She said: “We arrived to find the theatre entrance completely filled with people and we were told to go to the Carousal bar opposite to wait until 7pm when the auditorium would be opened.
“We did this but when we returned to the theatre entrance it was still blocked and an even larger amount of people had arrived. We were then told to return to the bar.
“Staff had no idea what to do with all the people who were massing. After another 15 minutes my friend and I were allowed in. We quickly found our seats and then the waiting continued with people queueing in the aisles, unable to find their seats.
“By interval time, it was 9.40pm. We were both very cold and disappointed so seeing the rush of ladies to the loo, we decided we had had as much as we could physically bear, so made our way to the pier entrance where our taxi was waiting for us.”
Another audience member, Hilary Flint, a retired events coordinator, from North Shore, said North Pier staff appeared unprepared for the number of people attending.
She was also sent to the bar on arrival at 7pm and said the situation was ‘a total disaster’, with people being told to move for unknown ‘health and safety reasons’.
“We were just waiting to get into a theatre, to see a show that should have started at 7.30pm,” she said. “There were now around 500 to 600 people stood outside waiting in the cold wind.
“At 7.45pm we had a feeble apology from a gentleman who shouted that those people who had North Pier box office tickets could go in and said, ‘the rest of you with Deal Monster and Lytham Hall tickets can wait’.
“We were hoarded in like cattle, and it was disgusting that those people were left outside with no explanation.”
She described scenes inside the theatre as ‘chaos with people queuing in the aisles to find the seat that had been allocated to them’.
Mrs Flint added: “By the time the show started people around us were panicking about getting the last train home. Two ladies we met, who had travelled from Liverpool, had to leave at 10.30pm to get their train; Collabro came on at 10.30pm.
“Collabro, Lucy Kay and Jai McDowall were absolutely fantastic. It was a shame it was marred by the treatment we had.”
Ellie Singleton, one of the team behind North Pier Live!, said: “On behalf of the organisers we would very much like to apologise to all the customers inconvenienced on the Saturday night performance of Collabro.
“As you know, with such a short move from Lytham Hall to North Pier, many organisations came together at the last minute to make the show happen for which we are very grateful.
“Unfortunately, in this transition, and with multiple ticket agencies, some of the information given was lost in transit, and although we had allocated everyone seats, which should have been collected at North Pier Box Office, this didn’t happen, hence the vast queues.
“The show went up 35 minutes late which under the circumstances was unavoidable.”
She said the ‘amazing night’, in aid of the North West Air Ambulance, had received much praise for the ‘extremely high level of talent’ and the ‘wonderful show’.
No one from North Pier was available for comment.