South East Wales

Ed Sheeran concert: 500 fans helped with tickets in Cardiff

More than 500 fans were helped to get a refund for invalid tickets at Ed Sheeran's concert in Cardiff before buying new ones to see the singer.

The superstar stood on stage in a Gareth Bale shirt and spoke of his love for Wales during the first night of his concerts in the city on Thursday.

He had imposed strict rules for entry to his gigs in the hope of stopping ticket touts ripping off music lovers.

His tour promoters said their system of helping victims had worked "perfectly".

Stuart Galbraith, chief executive of promoter Kilimanjaro Live, one of the promoters of Sheeran's tour, said more than 500 fans who turned up at the Principality Stadium with invalid tickets were helped.

Ticket resellers Get Me In, Seatwave and StubHub had previously agreed they would not list tickets for the tour but Viagogo did not follow suit.

Instead, fans who had bought tickets from Viagogo - often at overinflated prices - were given a letter after arriving at the concert to prove their tickets were invalid, which could then be used to get a refund from the reselling site.

They were then offered new tickets at face value for that night's concert.

"The feedback I've had from staff has been that everyone has been really grateful because the vast majority didn't realise they had been ripped off or only realised after it was too late," Mr Galbraith added.

Claire Turnham, of Victim of Viagogo, which is based at the box office at each of the tour's venues to advise those affected, said the system was now very efficient and "well oiled" after a number of tour dates.

"We had a steady stream of people all day from the time we opened at 12pm until 8pm," she said about being outside Thursday's concert.

"People seemed to genuinely appreciate the efforts we were going to to help them get their money back."

Sheeran is performing to sell-out crowds of about 60,000 fans for each of his four Cardiff gigs.

During Thursday night's concert, he told the audience that after playing in the city on a previous occasion, he decided "I have to play at that stadium".

He also spoke of his "deep love" for Wales.

"I've come here and played a lot of shows, written a lot of songs here and always have tremendous amounts of fun," he said.

He also wore the Wales football shirt emblazoned with Gareth Bale's number 11 as he finished the night with Shape of You and You Need Me.

Fans had been warned to allow plenty of time to get to the stadium to watch the Thinking Out Loud singer's performance, with enhanced security checks and ticket scrutiny.

Plan ahead

The thousands fans expected each night have been advised to plan ahead for their journey to Cardiff as last trains to destinations such as London, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Aberdare could leave before the concert is due to finish at 22:30.

No services will run to London Paddington after the Sunday show because of a planned Severn Tunnel closure.

Services from London will not call at Bristol and Cardiff trains coming from England's south coast will terminate at Bristol Parkway where a rail replacement bus service will take passengers to Newport for onward trains to Cardiff.

After the concert, trains to Newport and west Wales will run as normal while rail replacement buses will run directly from Cardiff Central to Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads.

And Arriva Trains Wales has also warned passengers attending Sunday's event there will be no trains to towns like Barry, Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale, Treherbert and Carmarthen after the concert.

While there will be extra services to Swansea and Newport after the gig, Arriva says it has no extra capacity or resources to add more trains on the Valley lines on Sunday night.

"Running additional services late on Sunday would mean having to cancel Monday morning commuter services," said Bethan Jelfs, of Arriva.

In the city

Image copyright Principality Stadium

Some road closures began at 07:00, while the Principality Stadium gates opened at 17:00 and roads in the centre closed at 17:30.

Security to the concert is tight - only small bags are allowed in the stadium while laptops, selfie sticks and umbrellas are banned.

Cardiff buses are being diverted out of city centre bus stops while Arriva has warned passengers train services in the Cardiff area will be busy all day and "extra capacity will be added where possible".

Cardiff Night Marshals will be on for all four nights of the concerts, rather than just the usual Friday and Saturday service.

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