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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 06:41 GMT
Ticket sellers are tout of order
Alan Hazlie

In this week's reader's article, Strathclyde University student Alan Hazlie considers the problem of ticket touts targeting major music festivals.


Tickets for this year's T in the Park festival sold out in record time, with some fans queuing for over 18 hours outside outlets in order to get their hands on briefs.

Fans queuing for T in the Park tickets in Glasgow

The event has been repeatedly voted as the top festival in the UK and this year will feature around 170 bands, attracting over 69,000 followers to Balado.

Like many others, I waited for hours in Glasgow, braving the crisp February weather, only to be left cursing the luck of the successful ticket holders as the bad news filtered back in a wave of disappointment.

But how many of these tickets were purchased by genuine fans intended for personal use?

Since the boom in popularity of internet auction sites such as eBay, many have been attracted by the opportunity of making money from home without the traditional costs of setting up business.

The ease with which tickets can be purchased online and then sold on for profit has led to a growing market in this area.

'Last chance saloon'

Although there will undoubtedly be sellers who, due to unfortunate circumstances, are unable to attend the event, the majority will be available from sellers who have expressly set out to cash in on the prestige of the festival.

Organisers urge fans not to buy from unofficial sites or touts, but then they don't have to worry about entry, do they?

Ticket touting is not a new phenomenon, and has always provided a 'last chance saloon' for eager fans turning up outside gigs willing to fork out to follow their favourite bands.

Ticket touting... has become as synonymous with music festivals as the muddy fields and chemical toilets

Many rely on this as a means of living. The process poses not only a legal but also a moral issue: is it right to prey on the desperation of fans who, if thinking rationally, would perhaps baulk at paying up to double the original ticket price, or sometimes beyond?

In the end, it is a universal constant that any business will charge what its customers are willing to pay.

Further limiting of ticket sales and restrictions on bulk sales will only lead to groups of friends wishing to attend being left scattered, with some missing out altogether.

Ticket touting is not only here to stay, it has become as synonymous with music festivals as the muddy fields and chemical toilets.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and are not endorsed by the BBC.


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