Industry News

Citizen Tickets to help tackle touts at UK fest

Scotland’s Fringe by the Sea festival has called in blockchain-based firm Citizen Ticket to track tickets and block touts.

Customers that buy through the Citizen Ticket system will be allocated a ticket into a virtual wallet that is connected to their identity. The tickets can therefore not be transferred or resold without permission for the organiser.

The blockchain technology will highlight any unusual buying patterns and can freeze tickets if there is a suspicion of touting or bots.

If something is flagged up, tickets will only be released once the event organiser is convinced that the buyer is genuine.

This can include providing identification such as a passport or driver’s licence and uploading a “selfie” video with the individual required to say a pre-determined phrase or series of words.

Tickets that have been bought fraudulently will be vetoed. Genuine buyers will be allowed to transfer tickets between friends and family securely.

The 10-day Scottish festival in August, which is headlined by Badly Drawn Boy (pictured), will reportedly be the first major event in Britain to use the blockchain technology.

The festival will expect to host around 30,000 people and artists such as the singer Mica Paris and the comedian Jerry Sadowitz.

Rory Steel, a director of the festival, said its intimate venues, with a maximum capacity of 500 people, mean performances can sell out in “ludicrously quick time”, The Times reports. Last year, tickets for KT Tunstall were snapped up in two minutes.

“Secondary tickets are obviously an issue at the fore with Ed Sheeran and his ilk making noises, but it’s the small promoters who carry the biggest threat to their businesses from fans getting fed-up with paying over the odds and looking elsewhere for their entertainment,” added Steel.

“Like most small promoters, we want to ensure that real fans get the best chance of securing tickets without paying through the nose via secondary resellers.”

Ed Sheeran recently took on touts that attempted to resell 20,000 tickets to his Glasgow gigs for up to eight times their face value.

Image: AdamKR