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Ticket touts are threatening the safety of festivals this summer

Written by on 7th May 2021

Ticket touts are threatening the safety of festivals this summer

Ticket touts buying up festival tickets for this summer in the hope of making profits are putting the safety of the events at risk, reports the Guardian.

With the end of lockdown restrictions scheduled for June 21 this summer and festivals planned to go ahead, professional touts have been purchasing tickets for high profile events and putting them up for sale at exorbitant prices.

Touting’s exploitation of keen music fans has been under scrutiny by music industry figures for a while, but the practice faces even heavier criticism this summer as it has been found that touting could impede tracing of corona virus outbreaks at festivals – endangering those in attendance.

The UK government has attempted to put measures in place to protect festival-goers, including the retaining the details of attendees for 21 days in order to prevent outbreaks. Reselling of tickets on a large scale would make this particularly difficult.

Websites where touts target fans such as Stubhub and Viagogo have taken little responsibility for the difficulties caused, even though these resale sites are where tickets pass through the hands of a number of different fans.

Stubhub commented, asserting that it was “the venue’s obligation and responsibility” to record the details of those in attendance.

Tickets for Creamfields (pictured) are reselling through the site for more than £600 – though their retail price is much lower than this, and this pattern continues amongst other festivals, with tickets selling for more than three times their original price for Field Day and Wireless.

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music’s chief executive was critical of touting, saying: “The last thing the industry needs right now is touts charging exorbitant prices just as the live industry is trying to get back on its feet.”

The chief executive of the Music Managers’ Forum, Annabella Coldrick shared the same sentiment: “What we need is a safe return to live music but we’ve got parasitic touts ripping people off and potentially causing safety issues.”

The risk touts pose to the public this summer has strengthened calls for legislative action against the maligned business practice.

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson called for government action to stamp out touting, saying: “The fact that ticket touts are not only ripping off genuine fans but putting the safety of everyone attending an event at risk is shameful. This is an opportune moment for the government to tackle secondary ticketing [resale], to make events Covid secure and protect fans from being ripped off.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said: “Fans must be able to buy tickets at fair and reasonable prices. We are committed to cracking down on unacceptable behaviour and to go after those who flout the law or abuse the ticketing market.”

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