Australia: Sheeran Fans Get Heated, NZ Investigates Viagogo

Ed Sheeran
John Salangsang / Invision / AP
– Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran makes a stop at KIIS FM Jingle Ball at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Dec. 1.


Ed Sheeran Runs Into Heat, Issues Down Under

A number of fans fainted from heat before and during Ed Sheeran’s March 10 show at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium

Although the mercury hit 35º C (95° F), the venue’s roof was kept closed – at the request of the act’s tour management, said the venue. It added, “Patrons health and safety are always our number one priority and we were continually monitoring the situation. The temperature inside the stadium was not at a level that put Ed’s fans at risk.” 

But Ambulance Victoria confirmed people were treated for dehydration with one woman taken to hospital because of a leg injury. 

Meantime, moves by Dunedin, New Zealand, city authorities to commission a Sheeran mural ahead of his shows there at a cost of NZ$8,350 (US$6110.95) irritated local musicians. The Chills’ Martin Phillipps called it “an unusual choice”; and Graeme Downs, former Verlaines member and now Otago University lecturer, told Stuff that in ten years people would wonder who he was. Flying Nun Records founder Roger Shepherd assumed that murals honored NZ musicians who took the Dunedin Sound to the world. 

The mural, by local artist Tyler Kennedy Stent, is on a wall of the former Bath St nightclub.  Sheeran’s three shows this month is expected to inject $34 million ($24.8 million) into Dunedin’s economy after selling 100,000 tickets, the equivalent of the city’s population. 

The British singer songwriter, appearing on NZ television, shrugged away the furor.

 “Not everyone in New Zealand likes me,” he shrugged good-naturedly. “The older I get, the less I care about people’s opinions. I’m just like ‘OK, you got your thing and I got my thing.”

Proposals For Victoria’s Anti-Scalping Legislation Upsets Live Sector

Australia’s live sector has objected to additional proposals for the state of Victoria’s anti-ticket-scalping legislation. In November 2017, the state government announced amendments to the Victorian Major Events law. 

The law, currently protecting only sporting events, will expand to major concerts and theatre shows. It would make it illegal to resell tickets at over 10 percent of their face value, and introduce new ticketing officers with arrest powers, and fines of up to $475,000 (US$373,943). Promoters applauded the government’s move to drop the requirement that events had to apply for Major Events status nine months out. 

However, a recent movement has caused an upset. The Greens Party has introduced an amendment that would force promoters to reveal how many tickets will be on sale, saying it would be “extra consumer protection”. The move has been supported by the major opposition party, the Liberals, and Jay Felix, president of Ticket Brokers Association Australia, who says that promoters should not be “allowed to be secretive” about ticket allocation. 

Live Performance Australia
– Live Performance Australia

But Evelyn Richardson, chief executive of Live Performance Australia – which represents 400 producers, promoters, venues, festivals and service providers – calls this “impractical, impossible to implement and will give a free kick to ticket scalpers providing them with commercial information that will allow them to further rip off consumers.” 

Michael Gudinski, head of Frontier Touring, said disclosing ticket figures to deter consumers turning to secondary ticket sellers was impossible. Speaking on Australian radio, he said, “For a start, how the hell do you know how many shows you’re gonna get? Who is taking the risk here? 

“On the Ed Sheeran concert, let’s face it, I don’t need to show anyone the contract. I’m a man of my word. We guaranteed 10 shows to Ed. I had no idea that we would get 18 shows. These people (the Greens and Liberals) are so off track it’s not funny … the promoters aren’t the bad guys here.”

 New Zealand 

New Zealand Investigates Viagogo

New Zealand’s fair-trading regulator, the Commerce Commission, has begun investigation into controversial secondary ticketing platform Viagogo. It says it has received 223 complaints in relation to recent Bruno Mars shows and upcoming dates from Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran, Shania Twain and sports events. 

Mars played four sell-outs at Auckland’s Spark Arena February 27, 28 and March 2, 3 as part of his “24k Magic World Tour.”  They set a new venue attendance record, shifting a total of 48,783 tickets, according to Live Nation, and breaking Beyoncé’s 44,596 over four nights in 2013. 

– Viagogo

The final Mars show generated a fresh wave of negative headlines when a reported total of 70 patrons arrived to find tickets bought through Viagogo were worthless. One woman claimed she bought two, initially priced at NZ $184 (US$134.65) each but was charged $525 ($384.20) when it came to pay for them. She said, “I feel like a fool. I should have stopped when I saw the price, but I didn’t, I went ahead and bought them.” 

The Commerce Commission investigation is focused on the adequacy of Viagogo’s disclosure as a resale site, additional fees, sale of invalid tickets or tickets that have been sold multiple times already, and refund issues.

The Commission’s Stuart Wallace confirms: “We are currently seeking expert legal advice on whether and how we can enforce New Zealand consumer laws against Viagogo, which is based in Switzerland.”