When Concerts Go Wrong (And How An App Can Help)

On April 17 thousands of excited Ed Sheeran fans (or ‘Sheerios’ as they’re known) gathered at Disneyland Hong Kong for the 2nd of his scheduled HK concerts on his ‘Divide’ world tour. The Hong Kong weather (notoriously temperamental at that time of year) was not looking favourable.

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On April 17 thousands of excited Ed Sheeran fans (or ‘Sheerios’ as they’re known) gathered at Disneyland Hong Kong for the 2nd of his scheduled HK concerts on his ‘Divide’ world tour.

The Hong Kong weather (notoriously temperamental at that time of year) was not looking favourable.

That evening fans waited while lightening and persistent rain lashed the stadium. The minutes ticked by, the support band were cancelled and finally, after a two hour wait, an announcement was made to say that Sheeran wouldn’t be appearing due to safety concerns.

Fans. Were. Not. Happy.

Communication breakdown

Of course, no one expected Ed Sheeran to stop the rain (he’s good but not that good) but fans were left disgruntled by communication that made it hard to find out what was happening.


While social media and websites are a good way to provide information to concert-goers, they can be time consuming to update and have limited reach. A concert app can deliver information straight to fans’ phones to ensure they have the information they need, when they need it.

Here’s how a concert app can help keep gigs and festivals on track:

Ahead of the Show

Key concert information may be covered in a related webpage but people may struggle to find it or understand how it will be applied.

For Sheeran’s Hong Kong concert lots of people queried how strictly the height and age restrictions would be applied in the standing zones.  Other fans wanted to know how the named ticket policy would work in reality.


Because many ticket providers don’t have a direct means of communication, fans can be left to speculate or rely on anecdotal advice to get answers.

A concert app can help clarify key concerns. Keeping an eye on social media means promoters can pick up on trending issues or queries.  Push notifications allow promoters to send clarifications or reminders direct to mobile devices.  They’re immediately visible and can include direct links to more detailed info.

On the day

Whether it’s changing weather, transport woes or venue issues, concerts and festivals can face last minute disruptions.

If weather is looking to like it might derail an outdoor concert, send an alert via the concert app to update fans on the forecast and the terms and conditions around adverse conditions.   At the Ed Sheeran concert free plastic ponchos were on hand, however, fans who brought umbrellas along had to throw them away on entry.


A pre-show alert could have been used to remind fans that umbrellas would not be allowed. Encouraging people to bring rain-jackets would also save on the number of single use plastic ponchos.

The app can also include interactive maps, wayfinders and traffic updates to help fans navigate their way to and from venues.

If things go wrong

Communication is key if things go wrong.  While it’s hard to provide definitive statements in evolving situations (such as deteriorating weather) giving fans as much information as possible will keep people onside and informed.

Ed Sheeran’s fans received some updates on the night but messages were mixed and sporadic.  A concert app can be used to provide regular updates and explanations e.g. ‘current conditions mean it’s unsafe the performer to appear on stage. A further update will be made in 30 minutes.’

Some fans questioned whether it was safe for them to be exposed to the conditions, again, information and guidance around safety would have helped people make appropriate decisions.

Post event

Ed Sheeran was clearly very upset at what happened and posted a personal apology.

His heartfelt message went a long way to assuage fans’ upset. Sheeran also announced that he would return to Hong Kong before the end of the year to re-run the concert.


Whether it’s music, sport or theatre, people often have a strong emotional connection to the performers. Official statements from promoters are important to outline circumstances and refund options, but a personal communication helps to validate the tie between fan and performer or player(s).

Circulate messages via the concert app so they reach people as quickly as possible.  Again, keep an eye on social media for topics that require specific advice, address or information.


A concert app won’t unblock roads or stop storms but it will help promoters and artists ensure fans are kept informed so their concert experience is as positive as possible.

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