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Fans of Egypt's beloved Mounir fume over 'worst-ever' concert by Vodafone

Such were the failures at the Mohamed Mounir concert attended by 20,000+ organised by Vodafone that the star cut it short and fans voice their fury on their long way home

Eslam Omar, Monday 6 May 2013
Mounir
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Egypt's most beloved singer, Mohamed Mounir ended his spring concert abruptly early at the Red Carpet Hotel, in Ain Sokhna Sunday, 5 May.

Mounir played several of the most popular songs to his more than 20,000 fans in the audience, but surprised them by launching early into the night with Ashky Lmein - which he always ends his concerts with.

"Some want to spoil our joyous, warm gathering," said the star into the microphone amid several technical failures and crowd problems in the general admission concert.

"This is the worst concert Mounir ever performed," said one fan, backing his statement with: "I used to attend all of his concerts in the Cairo Opera House, Alexandria and Sokhna. I guarantee you this is the worst ever!"

Many others left disappointed and fuming into the early morning, hitting the road from the Egyptian beach town on a two-hour ride back to Cairo and cities much farther away.

What is there to complain about?

The sound system was meagre, with only a few speakers around the stage. The audience chanted many times "The sound! The sound!" complaining that they were not able to hear the concert.

The screens didn't even display most of the event.

Security guards were aggressive, using dogs and electric shocks to control the masses.

"I wish I could see or hear him tonight," said a young girl.

Another said sarcastically: "Concert? What concert? Mounir didn't come tonight!"

Spectators complained of a lack of security as some sexual harassment occurred.

First-hand sources say drugs were used and sold in obvious view and more than 30 fainted because the crowd was jostling about.

Some complain about a group of diehard Mounir fans. Members of one of biggest Facebook fan pages for the singer, Ultras Mounirian (which has 285,000 followers) organised bussing to the concert and showed up in easily-identifiable t-shirts, holding flags and signs professing their love for the singer or making political statements.

Hundreds blame the Ultras Mounir fans for setting off firecrackers during the event, which caused stampedes.

The Ultras Mounirian had to apologise on Facebook for botching up the transportation, which they fondly call "nomad."

However, the fan group posted on their Facebook page: "This was very badly organised. We are not the kind of fans you use electric shocks and dogs against," throwing the blame on Vodafone.

With such a phenomenally beloved, high-profile star in Egypt no organiser can limit their responsibility to catchy advertising. Due professional respect to the artist himself and duty towards the audience - especially if in the thousands - were lacking at this concert.

Vodafone is seen as taking advantage of their association with Mounir's extreme popularity and ability to garner astronomical attendance but not keeping their end of the bargain to organise a concert responsibly. The fact that Mounir's loyal fans have attended any concert he puts on also means fans have a basis by which to compare concert experiences.

Twitter was rife with jokes and one comment was repeated Monday morning: "Mounir's concert failed."

"Is there anybody who hasn't tweeted yet that Mohamed Mounir's concert was a failure?" reads one tweet.

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Born in a Nubian family October 1954, Mounir, began his music career in 1975 and quickly started gaining his international reputation, singing many genres including classical Arabic, Nubian, blues, jazz and reggae.

He also appeared in many films, including director Youssef Chahine's Al Maseer (Destiny),which competed in the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.

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