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Foo Fighters crack down on ticket touts in London

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No Photo I.D, No Entry!

On Tuesday night, American rock band Foo Fighters and the O2 Arena London cracked down hard on ticket resale websites, denying entry to any patrons without proof of purchase, i.e. Photo I.D matching the name printed on their tickets. Described as a mandate by the band – No Photo I.D, No Entry – O2 staff checked for identification before allowing fans to proceed to the security gates where they were then double-checked in case one got away.

In efforts to be reasonable with fans, The O2 conceded that tickets purchased on anyone’s behalf would still be valid if proof of the buyer’s I.D was presented via a print-out. Alternately, entry would be granted if the attending fan was escorted to the gates by the buyer who would then be required to show his/her I.D. Anyone unable to fulfill either of these requirements was turned away despite holding a ticket for the show.

At 7:38 pm, queues still extended as far back as the centre of the arena’s main atrium. The band would not play for another hour, giving fans with the all-clear ample time to gain entry to the venue. Foo Fighters made up for the late start, however, so those who got in were not disappointed.

Resale sites like Viagogo, GetMeIn and StubHub allow sellers to mark-up ticket prices as they see fit, providing a money-making venture for individuals who are not ‘true fans’. Both artists and fans disapprove however, with many saying that ‘true fans’ are being denied the opportunity to purchase tickets at face value, while ticket touts are cleaning up, buying tickets in bulk and peddling them for anywhere between two to ten times the price, and even more, depending on the artist’s/band’s popularity.

Earlier this year, after tickets sold out in mere minutes, fans of Jamiroquai and Ed Sheeran took to Facebook and Twitter, complaining that they never had an option to buy and spent their entire online session in a queue. Some say they even received alerts that tickets were sold out before the sale actually began.

Ed Sheeran was one of the first to take action against touts, back in March/April, when he asked UK fans who could not attend his Divide Tour in May, if they would resell their tickets on the Twickets website, a place where other fans could buy at face value.

One hopeful patron at The O2 on Tuesday said that, despite opposition to resale sites and what he views as extortion by touts, he was left with no choice but to purchase a ticket on StubHub for £205, including fees, because Foo Fighters tickets sold out so quickly and he’s waited years to see the band perform live. Face value tickets started at £55 on Axs, the official site for the event.

Some fans were informed of the night’s crackdown when they collected their tickets at StubHub’s offices prior to the event. StubHub was fielding numerous calls from unhappy customers who were denied entry and advised those headed to The O2 not to flaunt their StubHub envelopes, promising a full refund should they be turned away. In a bid to explain the situation, one StubHub staff member said, “Foo Fighters don’t like us.”

If more bands follow suit, will it put an end to ticket touts? Only time will tell.

Esha Young