Resale sites and ticket touts have been accused of putting music fans’ safety at risk by selling tickets for events that require attendees to give personal details within rules of entry under COVID restrictions.
An investigation by the Guardian newspaper found that dozens of professional touts have snapped up tickets for eagerly awaited festivals and are demanding massively inflated prices.
The newspaper said it found more than 100 tickets for a combined value of nearly £65,000 for major UK festivals such as Parklife, Leeds and Reading.
While the figures were inflated compared to face value, many industry figures are concerned that the resale of tickets could be problematic for event organisers who are required to retain attendees’ details for 21 days as part of government efforts to prevent coronavirus outbreaks.
Sharon Hodgson MP, who leads the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, said it was time for the government to step up action to prevent touting.
“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,” she said, according to The Guardian.
“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.”
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music’s chief executive, was concerned that touts and resale sites are capitalising on restricted numbers of tickets and pent-up demand to attend events after more than a year without live music.
“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,” he said.
The Guardian named Viagogo and StubHub as sites where tickets are available. In response, the newspaper said StubHub contended it was “the venue’s obligation and responsibility” to record attendees’ details. Viagogo said it would “always work closely and comply with authorities to assist in their efforts to identify potential exposure to the coronavirus.”