Asia: Strawberry Fest, Ed Sheeran, Ticketore

Beijing Strawberry Fest Canceled 

Strawberry Festival 2014
AP Photo / Alexander F. Yuan
– Strawberry Festival 2014

This year’s Strawberry Music Festival Beijing was canceled after organizer Modern Sky told various media it was unable to secure a permit for the event. Nevertheless, the Shanghai version of the festival, featuring Charlie XCX, the Vaccines, Caspian and others went ahead as scheduled the weekend of May 1 in Expo Park. In lieu of big festivals, however, China is seeing a large number of so-called mini-festivals this year, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Tomorrow Music Festival, which has been called China’s most experimental festival, is taking place in Shenzhen May 18-21. It’s become one of the prime showcases for new, cutting-edge Chinese music acts, and is often attended by foreign music mavens. There is also the Wetware Festival in Beijing, which takes place at a karaoke parlor with a dedicated live stage as well as other nearby venues. In addition to music acts, Wetware features vendors hawking the latest music gear and workshops for professionals.

The Great Wall Rave and Run, which takes place at the titular national monument, combines a dance music festival with a 5-kilometer race. It also takes place the weekend of May 20.

Ed ‘Everywhere’ Sheeran

Ed Sheeran‘s Asia Tour was extended by 11 new destinations last week, although venues were not announced yet for most. In addition to the Singapore show announced locally two weeks ago, the British singer-songwriter will also visit Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Mumbai and Dubai. There will also be two shows each in Tokyo and Hong Kong, and on May 11 AEG Asia announced that a second show was added in Singapore on Nov. 12 after the initial Nov. 11 performance quickly sold out.

In fact, there were some problems reported by ChannelNewsAsia in that, according to some potential ticket buyers, Sports Hub, the website where tickets were to go on sale, allegedly announced the added show “via a Facebook post” rather than “making an official announcement.” Consequently, people who didn’t see the Facebook announcement didn’t know when tickets were to go on sale and thus missed out. As a result, a lot of those tickets are already showing up on third-party sites at very high prices. Then, on May 13 ChannelNewsAsia reported that Sports Hub was investigating claims that someone had purchased more than 200 Ed Sheeran tickets in bulk.

A Facebook user had claimed that someone “touting Ed Sheeran tickets online” claimed that a “friend” from “Sports Hub management” had helped that person acquire 100 tickets for the Nov. 11 show and 120 tickets for the Nov. 12 show. This person was selling S$248 ($178) tickets for S$1,100. The senior director of corporate communications for Sports Hub said the company is “in contact with the relevant authorities” about the claim. No resellers have been authorized to sell tickets for the Ed Sheeran concerts. 

On May 14, the Straits Times reported that there was “no evidence” that a staff member of Sports Hub had “looted” tickets. In addition, Sports Hub said, “There were no suspicious transactions, and tickets were purchased within the respective transaction limits.” Nevertheless, Straits Times did not mention how many tickets were actually being sold at inflated prices on third-party sites. Apparently, alleged ticket scams for this particular tour aren’t limited to Singapore.

The Malaysian Digest also reported some shenanigans for the Nov. 14 show in Kuala Lumpur.

Tickets for that show sold out within two hours after going on sale, with some fans complaining that people were purchasing more than the allowed number. MyTicket.Asia, which handled ticket sales for the show, said these rumors are false and that just too many people wanted tickets. “The queue was too long,” said a representative of MyTicket. “Millions of people were queuing and based on our report, they were from all over Southeast Asia – Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand – so there were not only Malaysians wanting to buy tickets.” The representative admitted, however, that some scalpers did manage to buy tickets “in bulk,” and that the company has contacted the police. A representative of Warner Music Malaysia told Malaysian Digest that the company was unaware of “this scam where people are re-selling tickets at a higher price.”

Pia Launches New Ticketing Marketplace

Pia Corporation, which runs the largest ticketing agency in Japan, launched a new venture called Ticketore, an online marketplace where people can sell tickets to concerts and stage events that they cannot use. Pia is working on the project with four interested industry groups – the Japan Music Producers Federation, the Japan Music Agents Association, the Concert Promoters Association and the Computer Ticketing Industry Association – to do something about the resale ticket market, where ducats for very popular events are sold by scalpers for huge markups.

Both sellers and buyers of tickets must register with the service with a name, email address, birthdate, photo ID and credit card or electronic money account. Sellers can post their ticket information on the site up to 10 days before the event takes place. Sellers can put a reservation on the tickets and receive them on a first-come, first-served basis. The price of the ticket is face value.

The seller essentially sends the ticket directly to the buyer by registered mail. Payment is made through credit card or e-money to Pia prior to the event, and after the event is finished, Pia forwards the money to the seller. Pia charges both the seller and the buyer a “handling fee” equal to 10 percent of the face value of the ticket. The seller also has to pay an additional 3 percent ticket charge. The buyer has to bear the cost of the registered mail. According to IT Media News, there have already been some complaints from insiders who say that the fees are too high and that while the system could cut down on scalping it will in no way eliminate it. Ticketore goes online fully June 10.