Great rock'n'roll swindlers are still cashing in

It's time to ban ticket touts at festivals, says Latitude founder Melvin Benn

Earlier this year, the government decided that, when it comes to ticket sales, it would be happy to accept the International Olympic Committee's rule regulating the secondary sale of London 2012 Olympics tickets, but not extend it to every sports, arts and cultural organisation in the country.

Say I have tickets for the Velodrome that I no longer need and want to resell, there's a law in place that dictates I can only sell them at face value with permission from LOCOG through the ticket resale scheme or give them to friends and family members if I am contactable on the day of the event. Ticket touting is also illegal for football matches; however, the market for secondary ticket sales for live music events is, at present, unregulated and I can resell tickets for whatever I like.

The government brushed off concerns by claiming that ticket touts are an irritant from which people can walk away. Yet this ignores the fact that the longer the secondary ticket market stays unregulated, the more we'll see the emergence of a two-speed economy in the arts and culture.

Here at Festival Republic we organise large-scale festivals such as Latitude, Reading and Leeds. Our whole business is geared around providing thousands of people with the opportunity to see their favourite artists and take in a selection of entertainment from across the arts, all for one ticket price that we believe is fair and affordable. I don't, unlike ticket touts, want to see ordinary people priced out of going to see concerts, plays or matches in a time of austerity.

I also believe it's very unfair that the profits made on secondary ticket sales go not to the organisations that take on the risk of mounting cultural events like Latitude, which brings together hundreds of bands, theatre companies, writers and artists, nor to the charities we work with. Instead, they go straight into the pockets of touts, who in turn then pay no tax on their profits.

Some people, including the Culture Secretary himself, have suggested that this is a problem the industry can solve for itself by introducing new security measures like photo ticketing. While these might work from a technical perspective, I can't help but think that they risk taking away a great deal of the fun and spontaneity that's an integral part of the experience of going to a gig or festival.

As soon as we start expecting people to provide biometric information before they can buy tickets to see Bon Iver or Lana Del Rey play this summer, live music stops being fun and starts feeling like applying to the government for permission to party. For festivals to continue be a success, and attract capacity audiences of 35,000 people at a time to places like Latitude, we have to do everything we can to keep live music fun and spontaneous.

The time has come for the secondary market to be regulated, and a 10 per cent profit cap to go on the resale of tickets as called for by Sharon Hodgson MP. If legislation has worked for the Olympics in terms of making its events affordable and accessible, it can work for festival and music promoters too. Hodgson and Mike Weatherley MP have created an alliance with a number of executives and major artists in the music industry that will be launched later this year called FanFair Alliance to demonstrate that it can be just that for the fans: fair!

Melvin Benn is managing director of Festival Republic and founder and creator of Latitude festival.

Latitude takes place at Henham Park in Suffolk from 12 to 15 July

Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015