Fans irked by chaotic baggage claiming after Ariana Grande’s concert at MOA Arena

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated that there was “misinformation” pertaining to the list of prohibited items released by the organizers, MMI Live, “two days prior to the event.”

We have since updated this article with accurate information and improved wording to better represent what transpired. We apologize for any confusion.

A security measure gone wrong.

For the second time, pop star Ariana Grande was in the country for the much-awaited Manila leg of her Dangerous Woman Tour. Ariana made the night truly remarkable for her fans–known as “Arianators”–with performances of her hit songs like “One Last Time,” “Side To Side,” “Bang Bang,” “Focus,” “Love Me Harder,” “Into You,” and more from her Dangerous Woman album.

It was a perfect night until the baggage claiming situation at the Mall of Asia Arena ruined it for most of the concertgoers after the show ended. In compliance with their strict security procedures, attendees were asked to surrender their bags before the concert started–making people line up for hours before even making it inside the arena.

It was unfortunate that not everyone was aware of the list of prohibited items released by the organizers (MMI Live) two weeks in advance. Despite the advisory being released on various media platforms, some concertgoers (perhaps unknowingly) still brought bags, backpacks, and other restricted items to the venue.

While everyone was given claim tags for their belongings, the claiming process turned out to be longer than the actual concert. It was absolute chaos outside the arena with no proper lines, no orderly system, and no clear directions from security personnel on how people can get their bags.

The show ended at around 11pm but we only got our bags after two gruesome hours of queueing, jostling amidst the frustrated and angry crowd. Some even passed out and hyperventilated because of the intolerable heat and suffocating smell of sweat; medics weren’t actively present to tend to these people.

There was a lot of pushing, slamming, and cursing as security personnel were calling random tag numbers instead of ordering people to line up according to their tags so the claiming process would be easier and faster. What’s worse is they weren’t even using megaphones whenever they’re calling out tag numbers so it’s impossible for everyone to hear what they were saying. Bags were also scattered on the floor and not necessarily arranged based on their tags, making it more difficult to locate them.

Frustrated by the stagnant progress of baggage claiming, people resorted to climbing the steel barricade to get their things themselves. Some, hopeless that they’ll even get their bags that night, left crying. Others totally lost it when a security personnel suggested to just come back for their belongings the next day.

With the heightened threat of terror attacks on crowded events like concerts, particularly with the recent bombing on Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, London, it’s understandable why MOA Arena had to implement such security measures. There wouldn’t even be an issue had the implementation of this security procedure been done in an orderly fashion.

MOA Arena has already released an apology the day after the incident but some were still disappointed with the arena management.

It may have been for the general welfare of the people and to secure the venue from possible threats, but sometimes these precautionary procedures cause more danger and disaster when done in an unorganized manner.

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