Online sales tick music fan off

July 15, 2017

Journalist Tara Whitsed wishes she was attending Splendour in the Grass music festival this weekend but ticket sales online stopped her. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled.

Next weekend hundreds of thousands of live music fans will be making the voyage to music festival Mecca — Splendour in the Grass.

Despite wanting to attend the festival for the past six years of my life, I am not one of those people.

It’s not because I couldn’t get the time off work to go. It’s not because I couldn’t afford it. And it’s certainly not because I couldn’t be bothered to journey to Byron Bay to dance in the mud pits that are the Splendour mosh.

No. It’s because I could not handle the stress of purchasing tickets to the event.

I nostalgically remember a time when purchasing tickets to live music was an easy process.

Getting tickets to the 2007 Groovin the Moo concert in Albury was a breeze.

Not to mention the three Groovin concerts I attended between 2009 and 2011. But then, something changed.

Every person I talk to has a ‘‘ticket purchasing’’ story.

Whether it is the time they sat at the computer constantly refreshing their web browser minute after minute before the tickets went on sale to secure one, or the time they got scammed purchasing one from GumTree.

Purchasing tickets online is no longer a simple, straight-forward process.

Increasingly, Australians have experienced scams and have fallen victim to the dodgy work of ticket resale sites.

A recent investigation by Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group Choice blew open the shady world of these resale websites.

According to the Choice ‘Ticked Off’ campaign web page, consumers reported paying excessive fees, receiving fake tickets, and lacklustre customer service.

‘‘The ticket scalping scene — politely called the secondary ticket market — has seen a huge change in the past few years, as dedicated resale websites have moved into the market,’’ the website read.

Choice detailed the launch of Swiss-based resale site Viagogo in Australia in late 2013, which, it said, was followed by Ticketmaster Resale in mid-2014. It was during the 2013-14 New Year when I last attended a music festival.

I volunteered for 15 hours at Falls Music Festival and fortunately avoided this emerging underground resale world by working for my ticket. But I can most certainly say that it has been this world that has prevented me from purchasing any tickets to large-scale gigs ever since.

I encourage anyone who has a story — and we all have a story — to report their experiences to Choice’s Ticked Off campaign at choice.e-activist.com/page/7524/data/1

And let’s help to get back to the simple days where you could relax purchasing tickets online.

Because I’ll admit it — this ongoing issue has made consumers as well as entertainers pretty darned ‘ticked off’.

Tara Whitsed is a journalist at The News

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