Thousands of UK fans sold out a one-off London gig from the Foo Fighters at South London’s O2 Arena last night, with many willing to pay hundreds of pounds, take days off of work, and travel many miles to see the American rock band perform. Imagine the disappointment when hundreds of those fans were denied entry due to a last-minute policy change that required a photo ID that matched the name on the tickets.
On the day of the show, a spokesperson for the O2 announced that: “At the request of the band, all tickets are being verified for tonight’s show at The O2. All fans are required to show proof of ID. This does mean that some who have bought through secondary sites, including our partner Stubhub, may not be able to see the show.”
One upset fan told the Mirror that the policy “[left her] £150 out of pocket after booking parking at the o2 as well as the ticket cost and axs are also refusing to refund stating that the condition of the lead ticket holder (purchaser) having to attend the event was notified by a 10 sec pop up window!!”
Another wrote that “Apparently the promoter has only just decided to change the goalposts at the last minute and have id checks on the tickets, so those that were resold on viagigo like ours have the original name and viagogo says they cant change names, and its not their fault. Where does this leave hundreds of devastated fans !”
— Paul honey (@paul_honey14) September 19, 2017
The band released a statement this morning stating that they were “frustrated and saddened that despite their best efforts tickets for last night’s show at the O2 fell into the hands of unscrupulous secondary ticket agencies.” They went on: “Unfortunately, this meant a small number of fans purchasing bogus tickets from these unscrupulous outlets did not get into the sold out show… Foo Fighters, The O2 and SJM strongly advise and sincerely hope that in the future ALL fans buy tickets only from legitimate sites to ensure they are not defrauded out of their hard earned money.”
So, the strict policy was clearly an effort to take a stab at resale sites- which are legal and authorized- but how does turning away hundreds of fans with tickets in hand at the door accomplish this? And why does the O2 Arena have an “official” secondary partner, Stubhub, if even those who purchased from there were punished?
Email from the venue says to use stubhub to resell if you couldn't make the show tonight. pic.twitter.com/gOs1lz4ept
— DimReaper (@Th3DimReaper) September 19, 2017
Secondary ticket sales don’t even begin to cover the consequences from this “ticket verification” rule. Many more took to Twitter to complain that they had received the tickets as a gift, been given them by family or friends after a last-minute change of plans like work or medical emergencies, or had purchased in groups and arrived at the venue separately from the lead buyer. All these fans, even with box office-bought tickets, were turned away.
After hours of chaos, anger, and tears, the O2 Arena employees who had previously said there was “ABSOLUTELY NO WAY we could get in without buyer being there”, finally told the hundreds of angry ticket-holders to “just go in”. At this point, of course, many had already left the venue.
The O2 released a statement that, ““Some ticket holders who arrived without ID or who had bought through secondary sites were unfortunately left disappointed.” Foo Fighters fans would call this an understatement.
— Ladyloki (@ladyloki) September 19, 2017
@foofighters just heard a friend spent £550 on viaGogo only to be turned Away via ID It's not the company that gets hurt, it's the Fans.
— pipehitterz (@pipehitterz) September 19, 2017
— MD (@miked331) September 20, 2017
— Sarah Eaglesfield (@zenxv) September 20, 2017
StubHub is refunding fans who were denied entry into the venue and did not see the show. It is unclear whether any other secondary sites will be doing the same.