Producers expected to sell 35,000 tickets for Justin Bieber's Hayarkon Park concert, now a week away, but sales have been slow, with just some 21,700 tickets sold.

This may reflect a hesitancy on the part of parents to send their kids on their own to the concert in the park. So concert producer Gad Oron is issuing free tickets to parents for every purchase of two tickets for children.

"There were hundreds of calls from parents unwilling to let their children go alone, and calls from children whose parents wouldn't let them go," Oron told Haaretz yesterday. "Around 5,000 tickets were on hold. Parents are worried about a large venue with a big crowd."

According to Oron, never before has there been such a big concert in Israel for an audience of adolescents and children. Before, concerts aimed at teens took place indoors in halls with a capacity of 5,000-7,000. Hayarkon Park can hold an audience of up to 100,000 people.

Apparently, Discount Bank has reserved some 15,000 tickets of the 21,700 sold. The ticket deal was arranged in an agreement between the production company and the bank, whereby bank customers belonging to the Discount Key program may purchase advance tickets at a reduced rate and choose a spot in the park, and the bank transfers an advance to the production company.

In view of this deal, only around 5,000 tickets were sold without intermediaries, except for the 1,000 tickets handed out by Yedioth Ahronoth.

Music industry officials believe that the way ticket sales are going, it will be tough to sell another 14,000 tickets before the concert.

"A concert in the park naturally means standing, and many times the audience waits until the last minute," said Oron. "The press and the public expected that within five minutes tickets would be sold out. Moreover, in recent years, there were concerts such as the Leonard Cohen concert that sold out within 24 hours. We're not in bad shape, and over the next 10 days will sell many tickets.

Marcel Abraham, the investor behind the concert, would have been pleased if the tickets had all sold out by now. He said: "Nearly 22,000 tickets have sold, why should we cancel?"

It's common, he said, to invest around 50-60 percent of the number of tickets sold. "Based on that, we're okay right now," he added.

Ronit Arbel, the Israel concert spokesperson, said in response: "Total sales now exceed 20,000 tickets. Because the concert is in Hayarkon Park, we have the option of a large crowd, and therefore we are working hard on marketing the concert."

Arbel said the producers will be glad to get an even bigger crowd, but there is no disappointment with the number of tickets sold till now. "The concert will take place, and the audience can look forward to an incredible experience. Hopes for greater numbers of tickets sold apparently stemmed from the fact that concerts in the Ramat Gan Stadium by Elton John and Leonard Cohen sold over 40,000 tickets. That's not the situation in Hayarkon Park and not the way it is with a concert aimed at teens," said Arbel.