News | 26 February 2019
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Eminem to set records in a whopper Wellington weekend

Eminem’s RAPTURE 2019 concert on Saturday evening will not just set a new attendance record at Westpac Stadium but out-of-town visitors are expected to swell Wellington’s population to a one-day record.

View of Westpac Stadium and cruise boats docked on waterfront

The city will be the busiest it has ever been on a single day, and plans are in place to ensure everyone has a great, and safe, time.

In 2017, approximately 20,000 Lions fans attended the All Blacks test match at Westpac Stadium, setting the record for the most out of region visitors the city has accommodated previously.

That record is set to be smashed on Saturday 2 March with 56 percent of the 45,000 Eminem crowd from outside the Wellington region, setting a new record attendance for a one-day event at Westpac Stadium.

Adding to those numbers are fans of The Hollies and US singer/songwriter John Prine, who both also play concerts in Wellington on Saturday night, as well as the Seven Seas Voyager cruise ship which will be in port, and activities associated with Orientation Week for new students.

Accommodation providers across the region are reporting few, if any, beds are available for the night of the Eminem concert, while restaurants, cafes and bars are gearing up for a massive weekend.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says it is a great opportunity to showcase why Wellington is the coolest little capital in the world.

“It’s going to be another huge weekend in the capital, with events happening all over the city. People will need to expect a bit of congestion on the streets and footpaths. Let’s welcome people and enjoy the occasion.”

Westpac Stadium Chief Executive Shane Harmon says the Eminem concert will set a new attendance record of over 45,000 for a single-day event at the stadium. 

“The most important piece of advice we can give fans is to plan your travel in advance and arrive early. 

“It is a requirement of this tour that every patron passes through a metal wanding process before entering, so give yourself plenty of time to get inside the venue and leave any non-essentials at home. Bags over A4 in size are not permitted,” he adds. 

Additional food and beverage and bathroom facilities will be in place in the concourse, inner plaza, at the back of the field and in the Southern tunnels. Harmon says that there will be over 1,500 staff working at the event. 

Westpac Stadium’s car park is fully booked. Concert-goers are urged to use public transport or find a car park in the CBD and walk to the stadium. 

Traffic restrictions near the stadium will be in place before and after the show with road closures at Bunny St, Stout St, Thorndon Quay and Featherston St.

For safety reasons, Courtenay Place between Taranaki Street and Cambridge Terrace, Blair Street, Allen Street, and Tory Street will be closed for traffic from 8pm on Saturday 2 March until 4.30am on Sunday 3 March. Check the street event road closures for more information. Buses will be diverted during the restrictions, visit Metlink for all the details.

Concert-goers should also check and for information to help plan their evening.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive John Milford says the business community expects a bumper weekend.

“This will be right up there as the busiest weekend of the year and is why business believes a slick and innovative events programme is crucial.”

WREDA General Manager Warrick Dent is confident Wellington will live up to its reputation as a great events city, but asks those coming into the city to plan their day well.

“Thousands of extra people will flood into central Wellington on Saturday and they will all be looking for refreshments or to enjoy a spot of shopping or sightseeing.

“Everyone in the hospitality and retail sectors will be working flat out to look after them, but the sheer numbers could mean things take a bit longer than usual. Our advice is to be patient and enjoy what is going to be a massive day for Wellington.”

Wellington Hospitality Group Chief Executive Jamie Williams says the weekend will be one of Wellington’s busiest ever, and he expects bars, eateries and cafes across the city to be packed before and after the gig – with many establishments reporting heavy bookings.

“Wellington will be absolutely pumping on Saturday and I’m confident staff will do a fantastic job even though they will be rushed off their feet. Patrons may need to be a little more patient than usual, but that’s a small price to pay for being part of a fantastic Eminem weekend that will linger long in the memory.”

The day after the Eminem gig, Sunday 3 March, will also be busy with the annual Newtown Fair expected to attract tens of thousands of people.