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Opinion: Lollapalooza must step in to stop ticket resellers

Attendees at Lollapalooza 2012.
Attendees at Lollapalooza 2012.
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Despite a tepid lineup featuring retread headliners like the Killers and Phoenix - is anybody out there excited about seeing either of these bands? - Lollapalooza 2013 sold out in record time. Both 3-day passes and single-day passes are already gone.

Two years ago, single-day passes didn't sell out until July, a few weeks before the event. Last year, tickets were available until late May. So what's different about 2013? Did millions of people feel an overwhelming urge to see Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear yet again?

Nope. What happened is that the scalpers are stepping up their game. As Lolla has continued to grow in popularity, scalpers - pardon me, ticket resellers - have taken advantage of the situation by buying up as many tickets as possible so they can resell them at a massive profit later.

That's part of the reason why regular folks can't buy secret sale and earlybird passes anymore. Within 60 seconds, they're all sold out, and that cannot be attributed solely to legitimate consumer demand.

This happens with all concerts, of course, but it's become a huge problem for Lollapalooza, and if event organizers truly care about their fans, they will take steps to correct the problem.

But unless there's a massive outcry from the public, Lolla won't change a thing. Lolla organizers have no motivation to do this, quite frankly. Scalpers actually help Lolla, because now the festival can claim it's more popular than ever: "Look how fast our tickets sold out!" Lolla organizers don't care who is buying the tickets, only that they get purchased by someone.

Is there a solution? Sure, if Lolla is willing to pursue it. Just look at popular U.K. festival Glastonbury. Ticket buyers must submit an online photo of themselves when purchasing, which then must match their photo ID (and their actual face, of course) when they show up to enter the venue. There is literally no way for scalpers to beat this system. Every ticket is bought by someone who actually intends to attend the fest.

In this way, Glastonbury ensures that only real fans get their hands on tickets. Lollapalooza could do the same thing... if they truly cared about their audience.

Check out more of my Chicago live music articles.


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