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Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009
Unofficial festival websites warning
Crowd at 2008's Reading Festival
The main stage crowd on day three of 2008's Reading Festival

Festival organisers and police are working to shut down websites that are selling tickets unofficially.

Last year many music fans paid for non-existent entry to festivals and gigs after using the sites.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, told Newsbeat he was pleased with the industry's efforts.

"We've been working hard as an industry to try and get rid of it," he said, "and I'm pleased to say the police are now responding to that."

2008 saw a large growth in the number of unofficial festival ticket websites.

Melvin Benn explained that organisers and police are finally getting to grips with the touts, though.

"It took us by surprise last year," he explained, "and, as promoters, we have to act as fast and as hard as we can in order to allow the festival-goers and the concert-goers a mechanism by which they can go to a website in the knowledge that that will deliver a ticket."

'Exploiting festival-goers'

"There were a number of sites that got set up," said Melvin Benn. "They were bogus sites, they didn't have tickets.

"[The police have] asked people to take them down and they are taking them down as we speak."
It is just praying on young people, it's praying on ticket buyers
Festival Republic's Melvin Benn on unofficial ticket sites

Some sites are offering tickets for this year's festivals despite the fact many of them are not yet on sale.

Melvin Benn, who organises Reading and Leeds Festivals and Latitude Festival, and assists with the running of Glastonbury, revealed to Newsbeat that young music fans are those most at risk.

"I estimate that in 2008 I had 5,000 people come to festivals without tickets on the expectation that they would get a ticket, and they didn't," he says.

"They were all immensely upset about it, and these people just pray on that and take advantage of it quite frankly.

"It is just praying on young people, it's praying on ticket buyers, it's praying on festival-goers, concert-goers, etc., and really just trying to exploit them."

If you want to avoid the chance of not getting festival tickets, Melvin Benn says the advice is simple.

"Whether you're going to Reading or Leeds or T In The Park or Download, or the Oasis shows at Wembley, look at the official website, only the official website, read what's on it carefully and follow that advice," he said.

"Otherwise you may be let down."

Newsbeat has contacted the unofficial websites in question, but has not yet received a reply.

'Terrific summer ahead'

If fans can't go to a festival and need to sell their tickets, Festival Republic is organising a new online scheme so those who missed out can get a ticket without running the risk of being scammed.
Festival-goers at T In The Park
T In The Park and V Festival fans have also experienced problems

"Certainly what I'm going to do for this year's festivals is nominate a site or two sites that I can say to people, 'If you're gonna sell the tickets, go through this site and they will guarantee whoever is buying will get a ticket if you buy from this site'," said Melvin Benn.

"So if people can no longer use their tickets, they can sell them via this site.

"I'm interviewing three sites during the course of the next month to establish that I can trust them, that they will do a resale of people's tickets if they want to sell them, and they will not sell a ticket they haven't got."

After all the warnings about bogus sites and scam victims, Melvin Benn had some optimistic words for festival fans, though.

"We've got great bills lined up, [I'm] very excited about the headliners for all of the festivals that I'm involved in, and I think we've got a terrific summer ahead.

"Sadly, I couldn't give you any indication of who's playing where," he says.

"Rumours abound, of course, and some may be true, some may not be true, so, you know, no comment at all on that!"

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