Refunds promised following traffic chaos at Sandance NYE in Dubai

Thousands of revellers left fuming following reported waits of more than four hours to reach Atlantis festival

The Knowledge


Thousands of people were left enraged after enduring waits of more than four hours to reach Sandance NYE.

Click here to see pictures of the traffic chaos on the Palm at NYE

On December 31 Dubai was seeking a place in the record books for hosting the world’s largest fireworks display, with more than 400,000 fireworks launched from the Palm Jumeirah and the World Islands.

This meant traffic restrictions were introduced on the manmade Palm to ease congestion, and revellers attending the Sandance NYE concert were forced to travel to the event by shuttle bus from the American University of Dubai (AUD).

But despite promising an ‘exclusive Sandance bus lane’ to speed up transport, bottleneck traffic chaos meant many spent hours on buses stuck in traffic on the way to the event.

Hundreds of people have vented their rage on Sandance’s official Facebook page, with more than 600 comments at the time of writing, many demanding refunds and reporting waits of more than four hours to queue, board and travel by bus. Our reporter arrived more than three hours after boarding the bus from AUD at 7.15pm.

Fadi Dada commented: ‘This was categorically, in no uncertain terms, the worst example of event management I have ever seen - and I've seen some shockers!’

Many revellers chose to disembark the buses and walk through the Palm’s underwater tunnel to the event, sparking safety concerns.

Within hours of the event finishing a ‘NYE Scamdance Dubai’ page was set up, attracting more than 100 likes with the statement ‘If you purchased NYE Sandance tickets and had a disastrous experience, join this page so we can all get refunds (at the very least).’

An Atlantis spokesperson said refunds would be issued to some disappointed revellers, with details to be announced shortly.
It has been reported some partygoers were offered free drinks upon arrival to appease their frustrations.

Aayat Al Mansoor commented: ‘Thanks Sandance for ruining my NYE ! Worst organizing ever !!!! VIP tickets are useless! We didn't even get in!’

Rachael Towl commented: ‘Absolute disgrace! ....Sandance organisers your reputation is in ruins! Will be demanding a refund! What a way to ruin NYE!’

Angela Delaney commented: ‘The worst and most badly organised Sandance EVER!!!!!! I have just spent four hours of my life collecting a wrist band, getting squashed and hurt in crowds of thousands of people just to try and get on a bus.’

Stuart Isted commented: ‘Well done Sandance... another well planned traffic jam, I assume you will video it for another record?’

Tyra Shakil commented: ‘I came all the way from the UK to go to Sandance and watch the fireworks! Absolute [sic] disgusted!!! Thank you very much for an amazing New Year's Eve! NOT!!!!! I want a full refund!! Most expensive four hour journey of my life!’

Click here to see pictures of the traffic chaos on the Palm at NYE

Meanwhile Narasimha Datta summed up the common sentiment simply with the comment ‘WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK’.

A full statement is expected from Atlantis The Palm shortly.

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