After hundreds of Foo Fighters fans were denied entry to the band’s Tuesday show at London’s O2 Arena, Dave Grohl and company issued a statement blaming “unscrupulous secondary ticket agencies” for the widespread pre-gig confusion.
The Concrete and Gold sextet, along with promoter SJM and the O2 venue, wrote they were “frustrated and saddened that, despite their best efforts,” tickets wound up on the secondary ticket market. “Unfortunately, this meant a small number of fans purchasing bogus tickets from these unscrupulous outlets did not get into the sold-out show,” they wrote, per NME. “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.”
Numerous fans were reportedly turned away by the venue after failing to present a photo ID that matched the name on their booking. After customers complained, security eventually allowed entrance to ticket holders without matching ID – but many of said fans had already left the arena by that point.
“Fans that bought tickets through our official box offices had to agree that they were buying named tickets prior to purchase,” SJM said in a statement. “This was not a ‘last minute’ decision but was clear from the outset. We did this to prevent tickets being re-sold at extortionate prices. The vast majority of fans understood and adhered to this.
“As event organizers of last night’s concert, we implemented a policy from onsale to limit secondary reselling of tickets,” the promoters continued. “The only official outlets were the venue box office and SEE Tickets and all purchasers were clearly informed that ID checks would be in place on entry.”
The O2 added, “Some ticket holders who arrived without ID or who had bought through secondary sites were unfortunately left disappointed.”
The Evening Standard spoke to several fans who were turned away by the venue – including some who paid over £200 ($270.74) per ticket. Tori Rosenbaum purchased four tickets and offered them to her brother after she couldn’t attend.
“I totally understand the thing of stamping out touting, but this is punishing actual fans and is so easily avoidable by saying bring a copy of the ID or card that bought the tickets, or their confirmation, or anything,” she said. “It’s a shambles. It’s not even the money that bothers me, it’s knowing that people are having their excitement crushed.”
Even some fans who purchased tickets through official resale partner Stubhub were refused entry. “At the request of the band, all tickets are being verified for tonight’s show at The O2,” an O2 spokesman told The Evening Standard. “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. Ticket buyers should contact their original point of purchase if they encounter issues.”
On Wednesday, a Stubhub representative said that ticket-holders who were denied entry for the concert would be eligible for refunds, calling the ID policy “not fair to customers.”