Another must-see band and another great ticket fiasco rears it`s non-transparent `sold out` head. The hugely popular London based Folk-Rock band Mumford and Sons are the latest in a long line of quality artists riding the commercial wave of mysterious ticket sales, the 2009 debut album `Sigh No More` and the highly anticipated September follow-up `Babel` have catapulted the four-piece into multiplex and Arena filling idols. A nice play on words with the tour title, November brings smaller, more intimate shows while December you`re more and likely watching little dots from the rafters or a fifty foot wide plasma, but hey! everyone`s choice, it encapsulates the larger, money making music venues.
I was looking to get tickets at a local venue for my son to see Mr Mumford and Sons and using the historic Ipswich Regent on the 23rd November as an example, let`s try to highlight the availability of non-existent tickets. Ticketmaster had no listings of the smaller regional shows, no presale links unlike the larger Manchester, London, Birmingham arena gigs etc unless you trawled the musty depths of Seatwave and Viagogo. So the national release date (advertised in Black & White) for purchasing your Mumford ticket was 9am this morning, first come, first served, take your chances, just as it should be – But hold it! the`ve sold already! it`s plainly obvious those £23.50 face value tickets are as real as Harry Houdini`s handcuffs. Fast forward a matter of minutes and clusters of tickets start appearing like long lost relatives. Attracting price-tags of £89.00 – £160.00 depending on your desired seating arrangements, I know for a FACT and I quote a conversation said over the phone by a very nice Regent employee “Only a handful of tickets were here, the rest went to Ticketmaster`s sister company Seatwave“. So come on Mumford and Sons, don`t become a Take That of the `pack em in` Arena world, take a vested interest in the people that are putting Folk-Rock back on the radio.
Channel 4`s eye opening documentary `Dispatches - The Great Ticket Scandal` shown in February this year investigated the multi-million pound world of online ticket reselling, although these sites such as Seatwave (Owned by Ticketmaster) and Viagogo aren’t doing anything illegal, undercover filming showed just how low these people go to part legitimate music fans with their hard earned money.
“Fans queuing for hours to buy tickets get turned away empty handed while tickets for the same ‘sold out’ events appear online shortly afterwards, sometimes at astronomical prices”.
“In an attempt to stop touts buying vast numbers of tickets and selling them on at a profit, Radiohead decided to use a “paperless ticketing” policy for their shows at Manchester Arena on 6th October and London’s O2 Arena on 8-9th October“.
Hope arrived with Radiohead this month (abet some minor teething problems) in regards the use of ID when collecting their paperless tickets. Also annual events such as London`s Camden Crawl uses a similar system with the added threat of voiding entry if ticket is sold on.