grirssrp and opinion
‘ Joanna McGregor
fans sold short
Booking fees: theatre and classical fans escape - rock fans pay. Words: Ruth Hedges
I would seem there's no such thing as a straight trcket. I‘v’rth
hookrng fees. credrt card charges. telephone charges and a
plethora of hrdden costs. the idea that a concert or theatre trcket might have a standard price rs no more. And as we become eyer more accustomed to trottrng out that Vrsa nurnher. various companres are ruhhrng therr hands and watchrng the money roll ill.
lhe Lrst has carrred out rts own rn‘r.estrgatron rnto the murky swan‘p
of trcket costing to help trace where your pennies go in the srrnple pursurt of seerng a band. a play or a concert. lhe results we found were very interesting. And not all that nice or pretty.
It's the chattering classes who fare best. Classical music concerts and plays are the most tarrff free. Katie lvlrlledge. rnarketrng manager of the Usher Hall explarns why: 'We don't charge for our own shows or classical rnusrc concerts. The audrences would throw their arms tip in horror if they were asked for an extra fee.’
But the younger and less blusterrng audrences of pop gigs are rn the hands of brgger forces. 'Wrth rock and pop grgs. promoters ask us to charge €1.50 because audrences are used to paying rt and they'll charge whatever the market wrll bare.‘ Mrlledge sard.
A spokesperson for the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow concurred: 'When a promoter hrres a hall it's therr prerogative to charge a fee.‘
You may rernernher rn the mrd»E)()s that Pearl Jam attempted to take on corporate grant lrcketMaster by refusing to allow rt to act as an agent because they sard rt was rrpprng oif fans by adding an extra Sr’ ‘88 onto the rnrtral prrce. It was a noble battle. but the hand caprtulated and lrcketMaster contrnrred rn rts domrnatron of sales.
lhrs has partrcular relevance to the t drnhurgh Playhouse whose bookrng lrne rs owned by lrcketMaster. lhere rs a flat 5‘ l . r'i) fee per hookrng and one source revealed the full prcture: '(Ilear Channel
TICKET PRICES FACTS & FIGURES VENUES Playhouse
Royal Lyceum No charge
Traverse No charge Royal Concert Hall King's Theatre 50p per ticket — £2 max
£2 booking fee £1.50 booking fee
£1 average booking fee
4 THE LIST :3 iii Sep 1451?.”
t ntertarnrnent owns the Playhouse lheatre and also lr(:ketMaster. You can only buy tickets for shows at the Playhouse through lrcketMaster. so they've got rt sewn up » the product and the venue.‘
But Andy Catlin. marketing manager at the Traverse. tidrnhurgh. helreves the comn‘ercral route to be deeply flawed. 'l or me on a very personal level. hookrng fees suck.’ he sard. ‘l frnd rt offensrve to he charged an addrtronal fee when you're already payrng for a concert trcket and the \enue rtself has guaranteed your patronage. It's also rust anti-marketing why charge for trcket admrnrstratron’? If we put on a late show. do we pop an extra theatre technrcran's fee on? No. It Just seems hr/arre to me."
Away from the venues. agents are more reluctant to discuss the rssue. On average Wayahead charges $.72. Vrrgrn $1.50 and Rrpprng Records Sfl above the trcket prrce. Sometrmes these charges are made explrcrt. SOHtOiIltTOS they're not. lhe promoters strll hold a large sway and The l rsf talked to Edrnhurgh's Rrpprng Records about the set up. ‘Basrcally. what we charge rs what the promoter wants us to charge.’ sard a spokesperson. ‘And if they don't specrfrcally say an amount. rt's Sit. Whether or not there's any splrt wrth anybody rs nothrng to do wrth anythrng.’ Point taken.
So what if you turn up at the Barrowland 7 no agents. no Vrsa cards and you rust put your cash down on the tahle’? Yes. you guessed rt. there's a slapped on hookrng fee for all the promoters hard work in sellrng that trcket. [he I rsf trred repeatedly to speak to some of Scotland's hrggest promoters about therr polrcy. but they declined to comment. It's rnayhe trrne for pop punters to get as norsy as the vociferous classrcal concert goers.
What do you think? Have your say: firstname.lastname@example.org
£1.75 flat fee per booking — through TicketMaster 50p—£1.50 on selected tickets + 75p tel charge + 50p credit card charge per ticket
Varies - promoter’s choice + 50p per ticket credit card
Varies according to promoter
Matt gets a little help from a friend
I Perhaps feeling the heat of being public enemy number one too much. the so-called wild man of rock is set to unleash his softer side. Marilyn Manson is ditching the inverted crosses and ladies underwear for a minute to invite a deathly in boy into his studio to lay down some backing vocals on his next record. Sick Andrew Baines can be heard On the crazed one's future album. The Golden Age of Grotesque . . . Scots pop-rockers ldlewild haven't been accused of hanging out with dying children. but they are guilty of going on tour in December (if such a thing can be considered a crime). Christmas will come early for fans when they can see the quirky quartet at Barrowlands (16 Dec) and the Corn Exchange (17 Dec) . . . Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob . . . director Kevin Smith used a little arm-twisting on Matt Damon to get him onboard for his next movie Jersey Girl. Acoused of being too big for his boots by turning down an old friend. Damon crumbled under the intense pressure and agreed to join Ben Afﬂeck and Jennifer Lopez in the cast . . . Her mum may have fretted over her being Britain's most unpopular woman during her Celebrity Survivor gig. but there may be another chance to dislike Rhona Cameron when she joins up for the Rocky Horror Picture Shows 30th anniversary tour. The Musselburgh stand-up will be the narrator during the Scottish leg.