Reading and Leeds head honcho Melvin Benn has finally come out strongly against the ticket touts. Ever since the Viagogo debacle, festival fans have been waiting for a strong and unequivocal statement, and Melvin half delivered it in today’s Independent saying:
“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.”
Strictly Our Opinion: There’s no doubt, it feels great to hear Melvin lay into the touts, but it comes with a real pinch of salt. While in theory there’s nothing wrong with him saying that all the money should go to the organisers (that’s what should happen after all), his comments about austerity, considering that Reading charge the largest fees of any festival, feel wholly disingenuous.
Attack the touts, go hell for leather, but it might be wise to knock the grandstanding on its head when he is currently responsible for the most expensive tickets on the market. Still, it’s hard to complain, keep applying the pressure Melvin!