Friday 14 December 2018

No Beautiful Day for U2 fans as Irish gig-goers left emptyhanded

Legislation: Noel Rock
Legislation: Noel Rock

Mark O'Regan

U2 fans have expressed outrage at tickets for the band's Dublin gigs later this year being sold for more than five times the face value.

The world's biggest rock band last week announced four gigs at the 3Arena on November 5, 6, 9 and 10.

However, tens of thousands of people were left bitterly disappointed after tickets for the supergroup's hometown gigs sold out in seconds.

Then within minutes of going on sale, hundreds of tickets for the Dublin, UK, Germany, France and Portugal dates appeared on secondary resale sites.

Some tickets were on sale for more than €1,000.

Ticketmaster's sister website Seatwave was charging €400 a ticket.

First-hand tickets for the platinum and travel packages, ranging from €625 to €925, are still available via Ticketmaster.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who drafted a Private Members' Bill last year outlawing ticket touting with TD Stephen Donnelly, said the legal process for the legislation needed to be fast-tracked.

He said it was "outrageous" that touts continued to gouge fans and called on the Government to pass legislation to ban the sale of events tickets at above the official price.

"The outrageous cornering of the market by touts whose only goal is to gouge hard-working fans is an absolute disgrace and shows the problem we have.

"This is now happening on a weekly basis with concerts big and small, as well as larger sporting events. People know they can make a quick few quid by snapping up tickets via advance sales, and make at least double their money back.

"Time and time again, they promise things will change.

"Time and time again, they fail. It's time for Government to step in with legislation."

Deputy Rock said he believed if the companies charged with selling tickets "wanted to stamp out this practice, they could easily have done so''.

"Belgium has successfully introduced legislation in this field. The Irish people are overwhelmingly in favour of legislation - with a recent Ireland Thinks poll showing 89pc of people support this.

"The precedent is there, the support is there, now we need to step up and make this happen. This situation cannot continue: the ticketing industry cannot be relied upon to regulate itself," he said.

Throngs of fans voiced their anger on social media after missing out on the golden tickets with one posting: "@U2 Dublin tickets gone in -3 seconds."

Meanwhile, another disappointed fan wrote: "@U2 should call their #U2eiTour the 'Impossible to Get tickets Tour' #U2Dublin sold out in nanoseconds."

As well as preparing to wow fans in Dublin, the rock legends will entertain thousands of followers at Belfast's SSE Arena on October 27.

As part of their eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour, the With Or Without You and Beautiful Day rockers will also perform in London, North America, Cologne, Berlin, Paris, Lisbon, Hamburg, Manchester, Milan and Amsterdam.

The band released their 16th album Songs of Experience in December and last July in Croke Park they wowed more than 80,000 revellers during their record-breaking Joshua Tree Tour show.

Sunday Independent

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