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Music fans holding tickets to thousands of shows

BBC News logo BBC News 17/6/2021
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UK music fans are sitting on hundreds of thousands of tickets for postponed concerts rather than returning them.

The latest four-week delay to fully unlocking Covid restrictions has pushed an additional 5,000 gigs into doubt.

Artists such as Rag'n'Bone Man, Olly Murs and Rudimental had scheduled shows between 21 June and 19 July and face a choice of postponing or scrapping gigs.

Industry body Live estimates the events scheduled for the next four weeks are worth £500m to the struggling sector.

It also means that fans remain out of pocket to see shows they forked out for many months ago.

One of the biggest event agencies in the UK, Ticketmaster, said that 83% of fans are choosing to keep hold of their tickets for rescheduled shows.

"Fans are entitled to a refund for any cancelled event and for any rescheduled show if they cannot make the new date," said Andrew Parsons, Ticketmaster UK managing director.

"But it is great to see an incredibly high amount of fans holding onto their tickets. It just goes to show the unwavering demand from fans to get back to live."


For lots of people hanging onto gig tickets has been a way of supporting the arts during the pandemic, or provided a little glimmer of hope for their post-lockdown life. Plenty may have forgotten they even had any tickets.

However, lots can change in 16 months, so there's plenty of reasons why gig-goers might not be able to make a new gig date. Similarly, they may have better things to do with that £100 the ticket company is hanging on to.

If an event is cancelled then refunds should be automatic, but if it's postponed then you need to ask. You are entitled to a full refund from the ticket provider, they just don't shout about it.

If you bought from a secondary ticket seller like Viagogo or StubHub then check their terms, but you may have to sell the ticket on to get any money back.

In automated messages seen by the BBC, gig-goers have been explicitly "advised" to keep hold of their tickets to postponed shows by vendor SEE. Neither SEE nor Ticketmaster provide explicit information in messages about applying for refunds. The BBC has approached SEE for comment.

But the appetite to keep tickets will be reassuring to an industry crippled by the pandemic.

Greg Parmley, the chief executive of Live - which represents venues, businesses, crew and artists - said the latest delay to lockdown easing had left businesses and fans unable to enjoy the summer.

It also comes in spite of the success of the Events Research Programme, which has enabled trial events to go ahead to examine how large gatherings can take place safely.

"The government must now follow its own science if it is to avoid the decline of the UK's world-leading live music industry, which absolutely cannot afford to miss out on another summer of cancelled events after a year on pause," said Mr Parmley.

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