Robbie Williams: What you need to know about traffic for Mellen Events, Nikola Estate concert
After Thursday’s traffic mayhem, fans heading to the second Robbie Williams concert have been reassured things should flow far better on Friday night — although the pop star will be swapping his car for a helicopter to ensure he skips any travel headaches this time around.
Organisers have been forced to apologise after an avalanche of complaints about the “horrendous” traffic management at Nikola Estate, which is hosting William’s two Perth concerts.
About 15,000 people descended on the Swan Valley for the concert but many were left fuming when they became caught up in hours-long traffic snarls going into and out of the venue.
Some fans complained they missed out on seeing support acts Gaz Coombes, Lufthaus and YO! MAFIA and had to walk 2km to reach the main entry.
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The show finished at 10.50pm but some punters said they were still trying to exit the carpark at 1.40am — nearly three hours later.
Adding to the absolute chaos during the rush to leave, a bus got bogged.
Some simply gave up and slept in their cars.
No one plans for this to happen, quite the opposite,
Brad Mellen, from Mellen Events which organised the show, said Williams, too, had been affected by the terrible traffic on the way into the concert.
Although he managed to take the stage just 20 minutes later than his expected 8.30pm kick-off time.
“Robbie drove out of the venue and he got caught in the traffic on the way in as well, so is he aware of (the traffic chaos). I’m sure he’s aware of it.”
Plans are in place for the Rock DJ singer to fly into the venue by helicopter for Friday night’s gig to avoid additional problems.
Mr Mellen apologised to all those affected by the traffic nightmare.
“No one plans for this to happen, quite the opposite,” he said.
“The amount of traffic planning that went into this show from the venue and the traffic management company, and our company was significant.
“We are very disappointed that plans didn’t meet people’s expectations.
“We recognise that, we apologise and we were up until four o’clock this morning looking at solutions and ways to change that and to implement some strategies that will make it a lot better tonight than it was last night.
“It was the first show of this nature at the venue and we recognise that there were some problems.
“There have been countless winery venues around Australia that have had issues like this on their first show and have put procedures in place to change the way that they operate and they are now very successful venues.”
Mr Mellen said anybody who bought a ticket and could not get into the venue in time to see the whole show could contact them and they would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
On whether they would be using Nikola Estate again for concerts of this size, Mr Mellen said: “We need to see what happens this evening and what changes can be made.”
Nikola Estate co-owner Graeme Yukich said talks were underway to improve traffic signals for those coming from Reid Highway for Friday’s show.
“They were getting blocked up because the lights just worked as normal and what happens when you have a massive amount of traffic wanting to turn left, it just keeps on banking up.”
“Then on the way out people are trying to get out and want to turn right at the lights on Great Northern Highway to go onto Reid Highway and the same problem was occurring.
“We are working with Main Roads to get the lights changed ... so they run longer so that stops the bank up.”
Mr Yukich said there would also be more entry and exit points, with three in place instead of the single road in and out that was open on Thursday night.
And there would be a 50 per cent increase in the number of traffic controllers.
His advice to those attending Friday night’s concert was to arrive early and enjoy the support acts — and factor in an extra hour to their travel time to play it safe.
Mr Yukich recommended people steer clear of using ride-share options to get to the venue as they had added to the problems at Thursday’s concert.
Instead, he advised catching a shuttle bus.
He also quashed claims that the venue had run out of alcohol early, saying the bar had to shut at 10pm in line with its liquor licence, even though Williams was still on stage until about 10.50pm.
The bar would also be closing at 10pm on Friday for the same reason but Mr Yukich said Williams was set for a big night and could play later.
“It’s his last night in Australia and New Zealand, he’s looking forward to making it a big night,” Mr Yukich said.
However, City of Swan Mayor Tanya Richardson said significant delays are anticipated on Friday night.
“The venue has planning approval for 15,000 people which was issued by the Western Australian Planning Commission in December 2021. That approval expires in December 2026, and the City’s support for any future application would be informed by factors such as the performance of traffic management,” Richardson said.
“The venue is also subject to event approvals for individual events which are issued by the City of Swan. As part of the event approval process, a Traffic Management Plan (TMP) was designed by an accredited traffic management company engaged by the event promoter.
“The TMP was approved by Main Roads and the City of Swan after being assessed against the Main Roads Traffic Management for Events Code of Practice, Austroads Guide to Temporary Traffic Management and relevant Australian standards. These assessments consider factors such as event signage, traffic controllers, parking, and drop-off and pick-up locations.
“While the TMP complies with the relevant standards, it doesn’t prevent excess wait times and queuing based on the volume of attendees. In light of last night’s traffic issues, the City will take into account the maximum capacity of the venue when considering future event approvals.
“The City’s Traffic Management Officer is liaising with Main Roads and the traffic management company to look at any improvements that can be made for tonight’s event. However, It is anticipated that significant delays will occur again tonight.”
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