Cross Media has pledged to reassess its ticketing and queuing processes for future shows, after holding its biggest Hyper Japan show.
The organiser claims a record 62,000 visitors attended “the UK’s largest celebration of Japanese culture and cuisine” on 26-28 July, at Earls Court.
“This is the first time we have crossed the 60,000 visitor mark,” said Cross Media managing director Kazuhiro Marumo. “This impressive figure is testament to just how strong the interest in Japanese culture has become here in the UK.”
Highlights of the show included the 2013 Sushi Awards, Taste Japan, and Sake Experience, where visitors voted for their favourite Sake cocktail. The event also featured performances from upcoming ‘J-Pop’ and ‘J-Rock’ artists, including Yanakiku, and Vaniru. Fans of Japanese fashion descended on the event, taking part in the Tokyo Style Make Over, the Tokyo Fashion Story and cosplay competitions.
A spokesman from exhibitor JPU Records commented on their Facebook page of their delight that their stock had sold out due to the amount of people at the show: “Hyper Japan completely cleared us out of Espirit D’Air and Broken Doll Cds.”
However, Cross Media acknowledged Hyper Japan did receive some visitor complaints relating to advanced tickets and the event’s queuing system.
Visitors took to social media to express their concerns over the weekend, claiming the organiser had oversold on tickets.
Hyper Japan visitor Elaine Purtell wrote on the event’s Facebook page: “Arrived just after 12 with pre-booked tickets, the queue for people with tickets was around two sides of the building. They were letting people in on a ‘one out, one in’ basis – including traders who had stepped out for a smoke. They also couldn’t say how long it would take to get in.”
Davina Wilson also commented on Facebook: “There was a queue so long it went all the way around the side of the building and they had to close the doors to people wanting to re-enter. The ticket booth had closed as there was a horrendous queue to buy tickets too. The volunteers were pulling their hair out. Lots more thinking about the planning and customer experience needed.”
Robert Fleming tweeted: “#hyperjapan censoring criticism of the shambolic organisation on the FB page.” While Dan Batchelor tweeted: “Are you going to address the angry customers who had tickets but were forced away due to ridiculous queues? #refundmyhyperjapanticket”
One visitor claimed waits were up to 75 minutes for the show. “At no stage were we given any information about why the queue was so long, how long we would have to wait before getting in or offered any amenities such as water and toilets,” visitor Paul Lofthouse told EN. “A member of staff told me that there was a one in, one out entry situation – that the organisers had sold more tickets than the capacity but were still selling tickets on the door despite the queue for advance ticket holders. I returned to our place in the queue where we stayed for a further half hour (making a total of nearly two hours)”
Yukiko Takahashi, general manager of Cross Media told EN the organiser warned visitors on the event website to plan ahead, allowing enough time to access the venue “as it may be necessary to wait to gain entry during busy times even though you have purchased advanced tickets.”
Takahashi also insisted they didn’t oversell the advance tickets. “Regarding the queue, we are investigating the real cause right now so we will plan for the next year once we find out all the facts,” added Takahashi.
The organiser has announced the next edition of Hyper Japan will be in July 2014. The exact dates and venue will be announced later in the year.
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