Wednesday, April 13, 2005

GLASTO: VIGILANTES ON EBAY

A bunch of self-appointed "Glastonbury Crusaders" are hanging about Ebay, sniffing out people flogging tickets for the festival and reporting them. Which, of course, is pitched midway between selfless dedication and self-righteousness. Why are they doing this? Woodland Maiden tells the BBC:

"The festival is about charities - very few people make money from it and the touts damage this."

Er... how, exactly? First of all, lets not lose sight of the fact that over a third of the festival is owned by Mean Fiddler, soon to be part of the Clear Channel dream-crushing conglomerate; although they'd probably love to claim charitable status that doesn't seem likely.

Second, yes, a portion of the cost of the tickets does end up going to charities - but selling that ticket on doesn't do anything to wipe that donation out, does it?

Third: if the implication is that selling tickets on is somehow depriving charities of money which "belongs" to them, then surely the charity-maximising option would be to sell all tickets through Ebay and raise the maximum possible.

Fourth: "very few people make money from [Glastonbury]"? Kylie's playing for free, is she? All those food stalls are barely breaking even? The increasing, but disguised, corporate presence is there solely as a loss-leader?

"If the sellers are genuine and not touting then they should ask for a refund. If you make a profit, you're a tout."

Well, not always. If you bought a ticket and can't use it, and choose to sell it on for a modest profit, why is that so bad? The tickets agencies recognise there are costs involved in selling tickets - that's the only ethical basis for a booking fee. Why should a private individual not reclaim a small fee for his or her time in obtaining a ticket?

"Many sellers have co-operated and removed their auctions. When questioned on how bidders might be able to get round the issue of photo ID, some sellers were willing to provide fake ID."

See, what would make me get angry is that Glastonbury - supposedly the left-field in a big field - happily introduces a checkpoint and demand that anyone wanting to give them a hundred plus quid should prove who they are with photo ID in the first place. I can't really get quite as worked up by the thought that some people might - gasp - tell lies to Michael Eavis's guards.

"Others advised people to arrive at the festival during busy times, when they were less likely to be checked."

At this point I wondered if Woodland Maiden is actually pulling everyone's legs, pretending to be patrolling the Ebay world but actually pointing out all the security flaws in the Glasto plan. "You could also catapult yourself over the fence, if you wished."

Do you think the Sun will send one of their writers down to see if they can breach the border security?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Why should a private individual not reclaim a small fee for his or her time in obtaining a ticket?'

Is £300 to be considered a small fee??

Might be worth noting that some sellers have a scam in operation whereby the same ticket is resold.

Might also be worth noting that some buyers are not aware of the new ID policy - thus, risking being turned away at the gate.

Another point - a number of people have bought tickets off ebay in prvious years to discover that come may/June, they get no ticket or refund.

Finally, over 30 tickets have been cancelled and over 20 auctions have been delisted

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