Posted on May 16, 2014

A concert held at Qatar Sports Club last Friday featuring popular Filipino and Ethiopian artistes has been the subject of complaints by a number of people who alleged that the Filipino organisers sold tickets, which were supposed to be “free”, to their compatriots. 

One of the complainants who refused to be named told Gulf Times that the organisers sold tickets priced at QR30 for QR50 to Filipinos while other nationalities were reportedly allowed to watch the concert for free. “Why did BA Events collect entry fees for the Diamond League, which is a government event?” he asked. According to him, the Qatar government shoulders all the expenses to attract crowds to the venue.

Oscar Yema from BA Events who identified himself as a “volunteer organiser” denied the accusation, saying there was no irregularity or anomaly in the selling of tickets. In fact, he said, the Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) did not want tickets to be given free as it did not ensure mass attendance. 

He also claimed that QAF did not shoulder all the production costs of the event amounting to QR500,000, but only the talent fee of the artistes, which was about QR200,000. The total talent fee had reached more than QR250,000, way above the amount given by QAF, he noted. 

Last Minute Deals from Bahrain

Yema disclosed that the cost of the stage and venue used for the concert cost QR150,000, which they paid out of their own pockets. “QAF did not shoulder this also,” he said, adding that they also paid for some of the miscellaneous expenses. He said BA Events and QAF had signed a memorandum of understanding, which allowed the former to print and sell tickets. 

Citing the success of the concert where Yeng Constantino, Cristine Reyes and the Kamikazee band performed on stage, he alleged that the complaints and criticisms online were “motivated” and orchestrated by their competitors. “With more than 12,000 spectators, it was the biggest Filipino concert ever in Qatar,” he stressed.

About the reported free access for other nationalities, Yema said some groups and organisations had bought tickets in bulk as part of a strategy to bring people to the event. However, a  source who also refused to be named noted that the Diamond League usually paid for the concert. 

“People pay QR30 to watch the games while the concert is totally free for all, so there was no need to charge anyone on that account,” he pointed out. Some comments posted on social media sites said the concert was not well organised, stressing that this was not the first time a similar thing had happened. But, in a separate interview, QAF president Dahlan al-Hamad supported Yema’s statement, saying nobody got a free ticket to the venue.

source: Gulf Times

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