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Festival Republic says tout-targeting a success at Leeds Fest

By | Published on Wednesday 10 November 2010

Look at this, we were talking about ticket touting again yesterday for the first time in ages, and then Festival Republic goes and makes a statement about how successful its mission to remove the touts from this year’s Leeds Festival was.

Good old fashioned ticket touting – with touts flogging their marked-up tickets just off site on the day of the event – has been a particular problem at the Leeds Festival in recent years. Festival Republic doesn’t like the touts. Partly because the company doesn’t like anyone profiting by marking up the price of their tickets and selling them on to gullible/desperate punters who missed out when tickets first went on sale. And partly because the touts get in the way of the festival organiser’s carefully planned traffic flows.

The issue, of course, is that touting in itself is not illegal, so the police can’t just rock up and arrest everybody. But there is a chance a tout may be violated highway or trading standards rules. To that end, Festival Republic financed a ‘multi-agency tout response vehicle’ with reps from various government agencies that patrolled the perimeter, questioning anyone involved in ticket touting.

It was seemingly a success. Says Festival Republic big chief man Melvin Benn: “I was keen to try and take action against touts offsite because they have disrupted our traffic plan and exploited our festival goers for years. I was delighted that agencies were able to join together in such a united and organised manner and that we could finally disrupt the touts’ activities. We hope very much to repeat the response vehicle in 2011 and are very grateful to all the agencies involved for their co-operation”.

Speaking for West Yorkshire Police, Inspector Marcus Griffiths added: “The close working relationship developed over a number of years with Festival Republic has allowed West Yorkshire Police and its partner agencies to put together a radical ground-breaking approach to dealing with potential criminality around the festival site. With the huge influx of traffic in the run-up to the festival, touts operating from the roadside were causing real and potential traffic hazards. I think the proof of the pudding was in the eating – the number of touts operating on the second and third days of our operation tailed off to nothing, thus keeping our roads clear of potential hazards”.