Saturday, June 16, 2007

Glastonbury: funerals and allegations

The Glastonbury ticket crisis is already starting to turn the pre-festival atmosphere somewhat sour, with BBC News reporting some people attempting to sell their tickets on eBay have received threats of prosecution for fraud:

"I was told they had my details and if I didn't remove the listing immediately Glastonbury were going to prosecute me for fraud," said a 26-year-old student from Hull.

The student could no longer use his ticket because he had to attend his grandmother's funeral on the day he was locked in to traveling down to the event on a coach. Michael Eavis has come through for him, in the end:
When the BBC News website told Mr Eavis his story, he agreed to allow him access to the event at any point during the weekend as long as a death certificate was provided.

For which, two cheers - although it's having introduced the border control and photo ID, for Glastonbury to now suggest that someone has to show a copy of their recently deceased grandparent's death certificate to gain access to the event is a little bit grim. I suppose we should be grateful that they're not asking for some DNA from the corpse to prove that the death certificate was of a relative. Remind me - is this some pop music in a farm in South West England, or has Glastonbury become a communist microstate?

It wasn't just the student who claimed he was threatened:
A 50-year-old man from Cheltenham is also trying to sell his ticket after losing his job soon after making the purchase.

His new job will not agree to give him the time off.

"They said 'we demand that you withdraw the ticket from eBay otherwise we'll take legal action,'" he said.

"If they refund my money then I would take it off eBay, but they won't do that," he added.

It does seem a little rich that Glastonbury refuses to allow people to sell on their tickets if they can no longer use them, but also refuses to hand back money. It suggests that the organisers have become so obsessed with making the ticket tout-proof they've lost site of its role as an entry pass to an actual festival; it's like they're seeing the ticket as being the end in itself.

Glastonbury deny threatening legal action:
[Melvin] Benn admits they have insisted tickets be removed from the auction site, but denies threatening legal action.

"I don't believe it is a fraudulent act, but it's an act that breaks a condition of sale," he "Certainly not to my knowledge has anyone been suggesting that it's fraud," he said.

Breaking a condition of sale, that would be bad. It'd be on a par, say, with promising to not use personal data for any other purpose, and then using it to promote quite another festival, wouldn't it?

It seems odd that two separate people have contacted BBC News under the impression they'd been threatened while the festival has no knowledge of anyone making those threats. We expect its just misunderstandings.