What price would you be willing to pay to see your favourite band? That’s the question Western psychology student Serena Rahhal and her younger sister, Tesneem, had to ask themselves last week when Twenty One Pilots announced their April 2016 tour would be coming to London, Ontario.
After waiting for the link to become live, Serena and Tesneem encountered difficulties buying the tickets. They believed that the system might have been slow because of heavy traffic. Realizing they were out of luck, they resorted to the next best option.
“We ended up calling Ticketmaster to explain the situation,” Serena said. “Apparently tickets had sold out within seconds. The [sales representative] had been on the phone with someone trying to sell someone a ticket and she couldn’t even sell that person a ticket because they were all sold out.”
Frustrated, the two sisters searched for answers. They confirmed their story with hundreds of other fans on the Twenty One Pilots Facebook page. Allegedly, within seconds, tickets for the several Canadian venues were scooped up — not by loyal fans but by scalpers. Seats that once were $30 are now being resold for as much as $10,000 by third-party sources like StubHub.
Ticketmaster has declined multiple interview requests but has responded to customers’ complaints.
On the other hand, London Music Hall manager Mike Manuel stated that “if scalping is happening, we don’t encourage customers to buy second-hand tickets.”
Unfazed by misfortune, Serena and her sister started a hashtag, #TOPCanada, in an effort to shed light on the problem. Twenty One Pilots has yet to respond to the situation, but the sisters remain hopeful that in the age of digital convenience, artists and venues can work together to prioritize fans.