As it was: Sequins and feathers as Harry Styles fans queue for Melbourne concert

They were under strict instructions not to queue before 9am, but that didn’t stop hundreds of excited Harry Styles fans in Melbourne, desperate to get as close as possible to their sequin-clad idol on Friday night.

A queue of passionate fans stretched from Marvel Stadium to Southern Cross Station on Friday morning ahead of the pop star’s first Melbourne concert since 2018, the first of two performances this weekend.

Some ticket-holders had purchased allocated seats, but those with general admission reserved only a space in the standing section. Those at the front of the queue will get nearer to the stage.

The long line was a frenzy of giddy fans – wearing sparkly costumes and a flurry of feather boas – all of whom were determined to get as close as they could to see the Grammy-winning musician in the flesh. Some had been lining up as early as 11am on Thursday.

Fans were moved inside the stadium around 10am on Friday by stadium officials ahead of the heat, which is expected to reach a top of 33 degrees.

Twenty-year-old Rayne Wrighton-Smith arrived at Marvel at 11am on Thursday with a friend.

“We literally slept on the floor last night on the concrete. We’re super, super excited for Harry … it’s been such a long time coming,” she said.

The uncomfortable night’s sleep was well worth it, Wrighton-Smith said. She’s scored the coveted front-of-line spot.

Tanaya McFarlane, 19, arrived at Docklands around 3am following an eventful two-hour drive, which included getting dressed in the car.

“[We’re] just waiting in line, chilling, making friends. We’re so excited for tonight. So incredibly excited … he hasn’t been here since 2018.”

Bridie Caruana-Jervies, 18, from Geelong waiting in line for the Harry Styles concert tonightCredit:Paul Jeffers

Styles’ tour had originally been scheduled to take place in Australia in 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bridie Caurana-Jervies, 18, from Geelong, was also waiting in line on Friday morning.

“I’ve been here since 6.30am,” she said. “I bought tickets to go to Sydney as well. [I’ve spent] too much money,” she said.

Gates officially open at 5pm on Friday, and indie rock support act Wet Leg will begin their set at 7.50pm. Styles is expected onstage around 9pm.

There were similar scenes at Styles’ first Australian concert in Perth on Monday, with hordes of fans planning to camp days before in the hopes of getting a spot close to the stage.

Ahead of the concert, the stadium enforced a strict 8am rule, warning that those who disobeyed would be refused entry – but many began queuing at 4am. A Perth fan said that at 7.45am the venue told those lining up to go to another gate, which sparked a stampede.

“People were running, yelling, screaming, crying, people were having panic attacks, getting squashed, falling over,” she said.

More than 100,000 attendees are expected to attend Styles’ Melbourne concerts on Friday and Saturday. Transport authorities have encouraged those attending to plan ahead, warning queues outside Southern Cross Station after the concert are likely, due to limited platform space. PTV announced additional public transport services before and after both concerts.

Volunteers from support program Red Frogs are also at the stadium to provide care for those spending hours waiting.

Marvel Stadium has been contacted for comment.

On Thursday, fans looped around the stadium to sit in an hours-long line to buy Harry Styles merch, with some in the queue preparing to spend hundreds of dollars on T-shirts and tote bags.

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