Tuesday 17 October 2017

More than 10,000 'unscrupulous applications' for Manchester benefit gig tickets

Joe Nerssessian

More than 10,000 people applied for free tickets to Ariana Grande's Manchester benefit concert despite not attending the pop star's targeted gig last week, the official ticketing company has said.

Ticketmaster set aside tickets for the 14,200 people who were at the Manchester Arena concert, but more than 25,000 people applied to this weekend's event being held to raise funds for the 22 victims of the terror attack.

A spokeswoman for the company said: "Sadly, over 10,000 unscrupulous applications have been made."

Stars including Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Take That and Miley Cyrus will join Grande at the One Love Manchester concert with the £40 tickets snapped up in less than 20 minutes on Thursday.

The revelation of false applications for free passes comes as Ticketmaster vowed to cancel any tickets being touted after dozens appeared at an increased price on social media and eBay within minutes of them going on sale.

The ticketing company are also performing regular checks across social media as part of a "zero-tolerance" approach.

The spokeswoman added: "At Ticketmaster we are doing everything we can - including extending today's deadline - to ensure that tickets go to the actual fans and not the opportunists or touts who have also been applying for free tickets."

Read More: Free tickets to Manchester benefit gig extended to all Ariana Grande fans at bomb attack show

Major secondary ticketing sites Seatwave, Get Me In, Viagogo and Stubhub have all pledged to not allow the reselling of tickets on their websites, while eBay said they would immediately remove any listings attempting to profit unfairly from the terror attack

Ticketmaster said in a statement on its Twitter account: "We're working hard to get tickets direct to fans. We are cancelling tickets of those who are reselling wherever possible."

All net ticket proceeds of the show will go directly to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, set up by Manchester City Council in partnership with the British Red Cross to support grieving families and victims of the attack.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of industry body UK Music, praised the efforts to clamp down on touting.

Vigil held in Manchester after terror attack that killed at least 22 people, inset: suicide bomber Salman Abedi
Vigil held in Manchester after terror attack that killed at least 22 people, inset: suicide bomber Salman Abedi

The former shadow culture, media and sport secretary said: "It would be disgraceful to fleece fans using an occasion like this, charging a mark-up which would go in the touts' pockets rather than helping people caught up in this tragic event.

"We welcome the efforts of site operators to clamp down on resales and we would urge people to think twice about buying any tickets through social media or from touts outside the event on the night."

Read More: Niall Horan opens up about joining Ariana Grande's Manchester benefit concert

Little Mix, Robbie Williams, Pharrell Williams, Niall Horan and Black Eyed Peas will also perform at the event at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

The BBC will broadcast the concert live on BBC One, and across BBC radio with TV coverage airing from 6.55pm to 10pm, fronted by Sara Cox and Ore Oduba.

In the build-up to the event, Victim Support issued advice for anyone planning to attend, explaining people should not feel they are "giving in to terrorism" if they feel too emotional about going.

They said: "It means you know you just need a bit more time - and you're allowed that.

Well-wishers pay their respects to all those affected by the bomb attack, following a vigil in central Manchester. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Well-wishers pay their respects to all those affected by the bomb attack, following a vigil in central Manchester. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

"We talk about giving physical injuries time to heal. This has been an incredibly traumatic event and many of the people who've contacted us already are struggling to cope, but we know with time many will be able to recover, it just takes time."

They added attendees should use it as a "concert for healing".

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