Stadium confidence despite sound criticism

Despite criticism of the sound quality at Forsyth Barr Stadium during the Hollies concert, event promoters and stadium managers remain confident the venue can, and will, continue to host major musical productions.

About 6500 people bought tickets to Ride the Rhythm, which involved an equestrian display and competition followed by the Hollies concert on Friday.

The Otago Daily Times was contacted by a few ticket holders disappointed with what they said was poor sound quality.

One letter writer said he and his friends left the concert after four songs because the acoustics were ''abhorrent''.

''It was our first and last visit to this venue for a music concert,'' the Ashburton resident said.

Another ticket holder said she also left early because she could not make out the words to some songs.

But Ride the Rhythm manager Andrew Hansen and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive Darren Burden were pleased with the sound quality and excited about staging further concerts at the stadium.

Both received positive feedback from people who attended the Hollies and were personally pleased with how the event went.

Mr Hansen said the promoter who helped bring the Hollies to New Zealand from the United Kingdom told him the sound quality was ''above average'' for a stadium of that size.

He received an email from someone who said there was no problem with the sound, unlike at the Elton John concert.

A full sound system was used, as enough tickets were sold to cover the cost.

''About 95% of feedback has been positive. Everyone's just raving about it,'' Mr Hansen said.

The next Ride the Rhythm at the stadium was already being planned, he said.

''It will definitely happen again. The stadium is fantastic.''

Mr Burden said he and the Hollies' promoter were pleased with the sound quality and, although he was aware of a few complaints, there had been a far greater positive response.

''We've had an unusually high number of positive emails from people saying how much they enjoyed the concert. It's always difficult to get it absolutely 100% right, but we don't have any concerns in terms of upcoming events,'' he said.

Ride the Rhythm was difficult to manage because it was ''effectively two events in one'' and the best seats for viewing equestrian displays were not necessarily the best for concerts, Mr Burden said.

Those seated farthest from the Hollies' stage were allowed on the pitch to be closer to the band.

Seating would be carefully considered for the next such event, he said, but for the Paul Simon concert in April that would not be an issue.

''The promoter has been in contact with the people who did Elton John and has all the information from that, and is very well prepared for the concert,'' Mr Burden said.

Overall, Ride the Rhythm had been a great success and he was keen to do ''something like that'' again.

rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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