Friday, January 12, 2007

Papers, citizen

The "let's make Glastonbury impregnable" scheme for 2007 has been announced, and it's crazier than ever. Last time round, you'll recall, you could buy a ticket but then have to establish your bona fides by taking a gas bill or something to the gates. (You could, of course, buy a gas bill or something at the same time as you picked up a ticket on eBay.)

This year's scheme? You'll have to pre-register if you want to buy tickets, providing a photograph. Then, if you are able to buy tickets, when they come, they'll have your face on them.

The attempts to make the festival tout proof, then, seem to be really leading the organisers up an increasingly blinkered lane. Okay, this might be uncrackable, but it's also highly questionable. We've raised before the questions about why, exactly, someone should be barred from selling a ticket to somebody else for legitimate, non-touty reasons - this obsession with introducing an element of ID even means you can't surprise your brother with Glasto tickets as a birthday gift.

But this year, there's a much wider question of "who the hell are you making me upload passport-cum-ID style ID card information before I even know if I'm going to be able to buy a ticket" - just leaving aside the question of how securely this information is going to be in the hands of a company spun off from Clear Channel and a Somerset farmer's hands, isn't it a bit of a cheek to make people spend time and effort filling out what is, in effect, an application form for the right to apply for tickets?

Yes, it must be galling for Glastonbury to see tickets offered for one price to sell for much, much more later on. But surely it's their job to prove that ticket holders aren't entitled to their tickets, rather than for everyone to prove to them that they are who they say they are. For a once idealistic organisation to be doing dry runs of the national ID card scheme sits uneasily, to say the least.

Of course, the real outrage should be reserved for this bit of Eavis' announcement:

The £150 tickets go on sale on 1 April but everyone will have to pre-register during February. An extra 25,000 tickets will be available this year.

Organiser Michael Eavis said he was "determined to wipe out ticket touts".

"At the last festival, official tickets were on sale for £125 but there were instances of them changing hands for up to £700."

Hang about... tickets have gone from £120 to £150... isn't that a whopping 20% price rise? And that can't be to cover the costs of the "extra security" because isn't that why the capacity has been expanded?

Eavis says that the fight against eBay is important because high online prices " is just not fair for the people who want to come along and enjoy the music." They should only, it seems, be officially gouged.