Sad fans rush to buy tickets to Bowie expo

Fans overwhelmed by news of David Bowie’s death flocked to buy tickets to a unique exhibition featuring the British music legend’s life

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Fans overwhelmed by news of David Bowie’s death flocked Monday to buy tickets to a unique exhibition featuring the British music legend’s life and career currently being held in The Netherlands.

Nearing the end of a world tour, “David Bowie is” is the first international retrospective of the artist’s works bringing together some 300 objects including some of his most flamboyant costumes.

Among objects on display are his iconic Union Jack coat designed by Alexander McQueen, and various of his album covers.

Following the shock news of his death Sunday at the age of 69, the website of the Groninger Museum in the northern Netherlands crashed as thousands rushed to book online tickets to the exhibition.

By 1400 GMT, at least 8,000 people had sought to buy a precious ticket compared with normal daily sales of about 1,000, said museum director Andreas Bluhm.

“It was already an exhibition which was doing really well,” Bluhm told AFP.

“But the news of his death has taken it to a whole other dimension. The telephone hasn’t stopped ringing, the website is saturated.”

The expo started its tour in 2013 in London at the Victoria & Albert museum earning critical acclaim, and has already travelled to Berlin, Chicago, Tokyo, Paris and Sao Paolo among other cities.

Through a selection of costumes, handwritten lyrics, photography and set designs -- some from Bowie’s personal archives -- it traces the steps of the singer who is known for being one of the most influential and innovative artists of his time.

‘He is so present’

Normally, the museum is closed on Mondays but as the news broke of Bowie’s death, staff decided to open up exceptionally from midday. They have also opened a condolence book for visitors to sign.

Bluhm said he expected even more people would now come to see the exhibits and “pay homage.”

“If you want to be close to him, you have to be at this exhibition because there are objects from his own possessions, his music, his interviews,” he told AFP.

Helen Julio, 60, agreed saying: “When we learned the exhibition was going to be opened during the day, we jumped into the car without even eating breakfast.” She and her partner drove some 200 kilometres (120 miles) to the museum.

Her voice breaking with emotion, another fan Suzanna Lemstra, 58, said even though she had seen the exhibition several times she wanted to “be here where he is so present.”

“He inspired me a lot, even when I was young. He was very courageous and showed that you can be different.”

Museum director Bluhm was also saddened by the news of Bowie’s death.

“We’ve been working for such a long time on this exhibition that you feel as if you know David Bowie intimately, even though we’ve never met him,” said Bluhm.

“So it’s a very strange feeling to learn of his death.”

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