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The Halls, Wolverhampton very recently announced that Blur were the official act chosen to re-open the venue after it had been closed for many years undergoing a full refurb which, itself, had not been free from controversy and delay.

Without surprise, the show had sold out within minutes, both on Wednesday at the “Fan Presale”
and Todays “General Release” but a lot of fans have been left unhappy, angry and upset that they
were unable to secure tickets to see their musical idols in the hallowed halls of what was lovingly
known as “The Civic” – a place in a city that Blur have a special bond with (They even played a
VERY intimate gig in the citys New Hampton Arts Centre a good few years ago”).

Unfortunately, as is the case with a lot of hotly anticipated, in-demand gigs/acts, a lot of these
tickets have ended up on resell sites within minutes demanding asking prices that are way above 250% of the face value, with non-fans and the dreaded scalpers looking to make an easy profit from those desperate to be part of something extra special (not often a stadium size act play such small intimate shows).

In a response on the official “sold out” post on “The Halls Wolverhampton” Facebook page the venue had this to say:

“Please be aware that the band has worked very closely with ticketing providers to ensure resale for a profit is restricted for these shows.

Digitally encrypted tickets will be delivered to you from your ticketing provider – the barcode will refresh every few seconds meaning screenshots will not work. Ticket transfer will also be switched off, so you will need to attend the event with the lead booker in order to get through the door.

Do not buy tickets from resellers. Guaranteed entry is only via our authorised ticket seller AXS for the Wolverhampton show.”

A great move indeed (if it is indeed as they say). A blow against the scrupulous scalpers if properly
policed and enforced. Let’s hope that not many people have parted with their hard-earned cash for
resell tickets which may not even gain them entrance to the show, and lets hope this becomes a step forward for the industry as a way to protect true fans from having to contend with those who are purely out to profiteer to secure tickets to a fantastic show.

Having unsuccessfully digitally queued myself for tickets I did have a few thoughts on the system
adopted by AXS. Unlike the physical queues of yesteryear where you had to turn up to the box
office hoping that there wasn’t going to be a queue. Or if there was, that the weather wouldn’t be atrocious as you waited.

You now enter the site at whatever time you can and you are placed in a cyber waiting room, but it’s no longer a case of first come – first served.

When the time comes you are then put in the next queue at a “randomly designated” spot, with many of those who had been in the waiting room for hours possibly getting beaten by someone that may have joined the “queue” a second before the sale went live.

Is this really a fair system for those dedicated fans that, if it was pre-internet days, would have camped out for days come rain or shine to be the first to grab a ticket (And come to think of it, who here misses the days of a physical ticket stub to add to a collection? Or is that just me showing my age and living in a world of nostalgia?)

And it isn’t just the reselling that is being questioned by the fans though. Many are also questioning “The Halls” as to how many of the 3000 capacity venues tickets were released to the general public and how many have been corporate issue due to it being the long, long awaited opening of the newly refurbished venue. This is something that has yet to be acknowledged by the venue at the time of print.

There may not have been many, it’s probably something that will not be known, but it does make you wonder at times, is this something that venues should be made to disclose? Should it be limited?

One thing is for sure though, it is always a case of pot luck these days.

There are tickets still left for Blurs 2nd night at Wembley so still a chance to see them, but as always it’s worth checking back now and again on The Halls website to try your luck.