Hundreds of teenage girls sleep rough as Biebermania “invades Lisbon”

Over 18,500 Justin Bieber fans are expected to fill Lisbon’s MEO Arena tonight as the controversial Canadian singer returns to Portugal in his hugely ostentatious Purpose World Tour.

Accompanied by 27 massive (TIR) trucks – one of which is equipped as a gymnasium – the 22-year-old’s latest gig has been completely sold out for almost a year, but that has not stopped scores of avid young fans – most of them girls – camping out in the rain and cold to get the chance of a perfect spot.

Some have been ‘in place and freezing’ since Sunday

Porto student Gabriel Morais told reporters from her strategically parked sleeping bag: “I have a ticket for the pit, but I want to get into the first row near the stage as that’s where he usually reaches out to touch his fans, and I want to feel his touch”.

Braving rain, cold and the lack of any basic shelter, fans say they have found strength in numbers and explain the vigil has made them ‘part of a wider family’.

As one dry wit remarked over social media, these ‘young things’ are the very children whose parents have been seen closing schools down in the past for lack of heating.

Nothing, however, will persuade them to leave their posts till doors open tonight at 6.30pm.

This is Bieber’s second world tour to have played at the MEO Arena.

His first in 2013 drove crowds into delirium on March 11 and was then ‘cancelled’ the following day due to “unforseeable circumstances”.

Bieber’s career has been the subject of various ‘controversies’ involving alcohol, fast cars, relationship issues, and alleged aggressions against fans.
Most recently he is accused of having punched a Spanish male fan for sticking his head into Bieber’s car. Kevin Ramirez, 18, is apparently “thinking about suing the singer”.

But as anyone who has teenage children may be thinking, this is a school week – meaning that most of today’s fans camped out in Lisbon are playing truant.

“Our parents support us”, one told national tabloid Correio da Manhã. “They are the ones who come with dry blankets. Our teachers think we are ill, but this is a once in a lifetime occasion”.

One of the intrepid has brought her grandmother along “for protection”, says the paper – featuring a tiny caption depicting the woman lying uncomortably with her head on a set of railings.

So far, this long-running tour has mobilised around 1.5 million fans throughout 70 towns and cities. It began in Seattle in March and has moved through Asia into Europe.

Billboard magazine estimated in May that Bieber had already made over 40 million dollars in ticket sales and this figure rose to 140 million by the end of last month.

Purpose World Tour will go on to Australia, Latin America and New Zealand before returning to Europe for closing concerts in Italy.

But today it is the focus of attention in Portugal’s capital, where hotels and restaurants particularly are raking in the rush of new business, and the town hall will be avidly receiving €1 a night in tourist tax from all those who choose not to sleep on the pavements.

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