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Anti-touting campaigners join forces across Europe

World News
February 5, 2019

Europe                  

Some of the continent’s leading concert and festival promoters unite in the formation of an organisation that seeks to fight ticket-touting and establish ethical mechanisms for event-goers to resell tickets they cannot use.

FEAT, the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing, will lobby both national governments and the European Union (EU) to introduce legislation to regulate the resale sector and educate music fans into only buying tickets from safe, authorised outlets.

A not-for–profit organisation, FEAT will focus predominantly on the live music business and says it will “build alliances with the full scope of the live entertainment industry including performing arts and sport”.

“The growth and effectiveness of grassroots movements against industrial ticket touting in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland in recent years has been invigorating,” says FEAT director Sam Shemtob, who is based in the UK and also heads Name PR.

“The time has come for these movements to connect, collaborate and speak as one at a European level, where we know MEPs [members of the European Parliament] are listening.”

FEAT founding members include Ireland’s Peter Aiken, MD of Aiken Promotions; Germany’s Scumeck Sabottka (pictured), CEO of MCT-Agentur and Folkert Koopmans, CEO of pan-Europe festival organiser and promoter FKP Scorpio; and Spain’s Neo Sala, CEO of Doctor Music

“Governments need to understand speculative ticket resale is an abusive and unethical practice that harms people, and they need to approve laws that make it virtually impossible,” says Sala.

“We need legal tools that facilitate the immediate preventive close-down of websites that put tickets on sale without having been authorised by the organiser of the event.”

Sabottka adds, “We need to get this right otherwise fans and artists alike will be robbed by thieves. If we all pull this together and get EU legislation to follow our lead, we can ultimately make it work.”

Among organisations backing FEAT is the UK’s FanFair Alliance, whose campaign manager Adam Webb says, “Our campaign has shown that legislation and regulation can have a disruptive impact on exploitative secondary ticketing, and help foster a more consumer-friendly approach to ticket resale.”

In a joint statement, European Music Managers Alliance chair Per Kviman, based in Sweden, and Finland-based vice-chair Virpi Imonnen, say, “In the last decade we’ve seen the live industry flourish, with revenues from concerts and festivals becoming the primary source of income for artistes and musicians.

“But this has come at a price, and, spurred on by the rise of the internet, the secondary ticketing market has thrived, draining money away from fans, artistes and the industry. It is great that FEAT has formed to enable us to work together on a European level to share experiences and knowledge and help better the market.”

FEAT is already involved in EU parliamentary discussions on secondary ticketing and the formation of a legal group to coordinate activities on ticketing regulation and with search engines.

Other founding promoter members of FEAT include Greenhouse Talent’s Pascal Van De Velde (in Belgium and Netherlands), ICO’s Kim Worsøe (Denmark), Corida’s Olivier Darbois (France) and in Switzerland, Incognito’s Christof Huber, Wildpony’s Philippe Cornu and Opus One’s Vincent Sager.

Festivals backing the initiative include Germany’s Hurricane (75,000) and Southside (50,000), and Switzerland’s OpenAir St.Gallen (30,000) and Summerdays (12,000).

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