Association of Independent Festivals publishes anti-touting charter

A host of festival promoters, booking agents, artist management agencies and other music companies have pledged their support to a declaration by the Association of Independent Festivals against the secondary ticketing market, CMU has reported.

The increase in online ticket touting has meant that touts regularly procure tickets for many high profile events early on, forcing fans to buy tickets from touting sites at a substantial mark up.

The growth of the secondary ticketing market has caused plenty of controversy in recent years, with Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme on the issue earlier this year revealing that some in the live sector have adopted an ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ approach, selling tickets to their own events anonymously via such sites as Viagogo and Seatwave in order to benefit directly from any mark-ups.

Following the documentary’s airing, the AIF capitalised on the renewed focus on the issue to re-promote its backing of a service called the Ticket Trust, which provides a platform for fans who legitimately buy tickets for personal use to sell their tickets later on if they are unable to attend a particular event at around face value (a ten per cent mark-up is allowed).

The AIF’s new secondary ticketing charter is aimed at embarrassing touts into refraining from selling tickets to events promoted by those companies backing the declaration, or involving any of the artists whose business partners are represented, by informing the public that these organisations and acts do not endorse the secondary market. It is also hoping to persuade fans to avoid buying tickets from resale sites in order to minimise the market, even if it means missing out on an event.

Amongst those to have put their names to the charter are the Association Of Independent Festivals and Association Of Festival Organisers, plus booking agents 13 Artists, Coda Agency, Dawson Breed Music, Value Added Talent and XRay Touring; labels Hospital Records and Ninja Tune; artist management firms Chambers Management, JCF Management and Wildlife Entertainment; festivals Bearded Theory, Beat-Herder Festival, Belladrum Tartan Heart, Bestival, Bingley Music Live, Cornbury Festival, Camp Bestival, Deer Shed Festival, Eden Sessions, End Of The Road Festival, Evolution Festival, Field Day, Folk On The Water, Glade, Glasgowbury, Glastonbudget, Greenbelt Festival, Green Man, In The Woods Festival, Kendal Calling, Leefest, London Summer Jam, The Magic Loungeabout, Meltdown Festival, Nozstock: The Hidden Valley Festival, No Direction Home, Outside:Inside, Secret Garden Party, Shambala Festival, Summer Sundae Weekender, Stockton Weekender, SWN Festival, The London Green Fair, The Applecart, Tramlines, Truck, Underage, WOMAD and Y-Not Festival; and artists Portishead, Gotye and Radiohead.

Explaining his opposition to secondary ticketing, Bestival chief and AIF co-founder Rob da Bank told CMU: “The whole secondary ticketing situation does make me really angry, mostly because I just don’t feel many of the people paying vastly inflated prices actually understand the mechanics behind it, and secondly because the people profiting are doing so driven by pure greed. For me music has never been about money and there’s a sharp divide between those in the music business purely for profit and those who are in it for the love of music. The festivals who say they’ve sold out while blatantly putting hundreds or thousands of tickets on a secondary seller are just plain dishonest.”

Dan Silver of Value Added Talent, who represents the likes of Orbital and Alabama 3 in the live space, also added: “As representatives of the artists and acting as their officially appointed ambassadors to their fans, VAT will continue to resist strongly the efforts by unconnected third parties to profit from ticket sales as middlemen, and will always seek to sell to fans at the lowest possible transaction charges – which we would like to stress are not shared in any way with the creators of value, the artists themselves.”

Here is the AIF Fair Ticketing Charter in full:

– We the undersigned believe that the growth of ticket-touting online – so-called ‘secondary ticketing’ – is bad for fans and bad for live entertainment.
– Ticket touting means real fans are deprived of the opportunity to attend events and see artists they love while speculators cash in.
– We believe there are strong arguments for legislation to curb the activities of unofficial ticket-sellers.
– Until such legislation is enacted we believe the entire live entertainment industry should further increase its efforts to protect fans.
– We affirm that we will be transparent with the pricing and distribution of tickets for events that we control.
– We restate our commitment to adopting ticketing processes and technologies, which ensure tickets reach the hands of real fans rather than touts.
– We call on secondary ticket sellers to cease and desist selling tickets for events we control.
– We call on consumers to boycott ticket touts.

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