A planned tribute concert for the late Michael Jackson, called “Michael Forever,” is drawing criticism over the way organizers are tying ticket purchases to donations to charities associated with the show.
The October 8 concert in Cardiff, Wales was announced this week and is being promoted by Global Live Events — with support by some but not all members of the Jackson family. But, already some fans have taken to the event’s Facebook page to rail against the organizers’ plan to improve the odds of people to obtain tickets based on how much they separately pledge to the charities that the concert benefits, the Prince’s Trust and AIDS Project Los Angeles.
On the show’s official Web site, organizers spell out a two-stage process to obtain tickets, which will sell for between £55 ($90) and £289 ($475). Registration for the drawing for tickets will begin August 4, and winning fans will be required to buy tickets and make the charitable donation:
Register your interest, choose your ticket price and tell us how much you will give to the charities at the time of purchase.
Remember, the more you pledge to charity, the more chance you have of getting a ticket. Tickets will range from £55 to £289 plus shipping. The amount of your pledge is up to you.
A number of special VIP Packages will be available details to follow soon.
The Registration period will last 76 hours from 8pm British Summer Time on Thursday 4 August 2011 until midnight British Summer Time on Sunday 7 August 2011.
If you are successful you will be invited to purchase a ticket within the price band you have selected. “Your charity donation which you pledged at registration will be collected at the same time as you pay for the tickets.”
While fans do not seem to object to the fact that the concert will benefit charities, many are upset over the way ticketing is being handled.
“The family [doesn’t] want to donate any money made from tickets to charity so this is why you have to pledge money to charity before getting a ticket,” wrote one fan who goes by the alias Pez Greaves on Facebook. “It’s [their] twisted way of believing they’re doing good. NEWS FLASH – Giving to charity should never be about HOW MUCH you can give, it should be the fact that you’ve chosen to give period!!!”
Cardiff resident Daniel Robertson told WalesOnline.co.uk that the process is tilted toward the wealthy. “It’s going to be like a lottery for the rich for myself and my family because the ticket prices are really high. They are steep ticket prices regardless, and then you have to donate to charity.”
A spokesperson for the Global Live Events did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.
Benefit concerts are certainly nothing new, but recently, UK R&B singer Adele, who wanted proceeds from some of her shows to go to the Stillborn & neonatal death charity (SANDS), tried a different approach. Instead of tying ticket purchases to the amount of money someone donated, she required people who received free, complimentary tickets to her North American shows donate $20 to SANDS.
Maryland ticket broker Jeff Greenberg, owner of ASC Ticket, told TicketNews that nowadays, charities often operate like this. “It’s also not fair that the White House can throw a $100,000-per-table dinner for something, which most people can’t afford, but that’s how charities work. They can pull off something like this for a special tribute show because it’s a one-time event, so in some ways it makes sense.”
Greenberg said he expects the show will be big, even with the charity donation requirement, but he is undecided whether he will try to obtain tickets. But, he believes brokers will be among the fans trying to purchase seats.
“U.S. brokers don’t do much business, if any, in Wales, but this will be huge, so they’ll be out there trying to get tickets just like everyone else,” Greenberg said.