Sandance Organisers Offer Refunds After NYE Nightmare
Revellers who failed to reach Sandance due to gridlock will get refunds.
Thousands of people heading to Sandance on New Year's Eve were stuck on shuttle buses for up to seven hours and missed the stroke of midnight trying to reach the event on the beach at Atlantis on The Palm in Dubai.
A spokeswoman for Atlantis said refunds would be issued, but no details have been confirmed. Bosses met on New Year's Day to discuss the situation.
Because of Dubai's Guinness World Record attempt for the world's biggest firework display, traffic restrictions meant the only way to the bash - headlined by British star Emeli Sande and DJs Pete Tong, Paul Oakenfold and Axwell - was by special bus from a meeting point at the American University in Dubai (AUD). Organisers had said the bus arrangements "wouldn't be a challenge."
But though 70 double decker buses were on the road, huge queues getting to the event saw many abandon it altogether, while others opted to walk there, despite the dangers of getting through the tunnel to Atlantis. Others say even getting onto a bus at the university was "dangerous" as hundreds of people waited. One bus even crashed on the way in Media City, according to reports on Twitter.
One passenger described 'riot-like' scenes as people tried to walk into the event but say they were not allowed in, while others did finally get in on foot. Police later started turning back buses altogether, while some finally made it - at 2am according to social media, and after hours stuck in traffic.
It had been announced there would be special lanes on The Palm just for Sandance traffic, but it was claimed by party-goers they were not being operated as promised.
As midnight approached Sandance bosses posted on Facebook: "The NYE traffic on the palm is being controlled by Dubai Police and Nakheel. We are in touch with the authorities to smoothen traffic. We appreciate your patience."
A Sandance spokeswoman later said the travel operation was a "government-run plan," and said some buses were turned back by police.
Ticket holders used social media to express their frustration, with hundreds of messaged posted on Sandance's Facebook page.
David Newsum: "It was seriously like 'oh you've bought your ticket well good luck. There's the pen for the bus scrum, survival of the fittest chaps.' I had to drag a woman from under a crowd of people. Also once you got on the bus you sat there crawling along until you were refused entry to to The Palm. Digusting."
Davie Brown: I honestly cannot believe the mayhem I witnessed last night. I've never witnessed chaos like it."
Mai Youseff: "Where is this information and dedicated lanes?It has been four hours waiting for bus."
Alaa Nagar: " I want a refund. This was horrible event management."
Lisa Jackson: "Worst New Years Eve ever. stuck in AUD for hours, almost crushed in the crowd and we can't even go home as we live on The Palm."
Hadi Fa: "The traffic is not being controlled by anyone. Cops are just hanging out their cars with their lights blinding the roads. I got on the bus at 8 and it's now 10 and we are still stuck in traffic. Apparently there aren't meant to be cars here but that's a joke too. Nothing has gone according to plan at all."
James Binding:" Sandance not happy. Cant get on palm. Sat in traffic three hours. Now back at apartment. How do we get a refund?"
Eugene Saad tweeted: "Good job sandance we paid 30000 for a table and have to walk to get there. Good job on a whole new level."
Sandance later tweeted:" @SandanceDubai: Sincere apologies about the traffic situation - we are trying our best to solve the traffic issue together with the police."
The fireworks were delayed because of high winds but went off in spectacular style at 12.30am.
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**CLICK THROUGH TO SEE PICS OF THE CHAOS ON THE ROADS LEADING TO SANDANCE**