CBC in Talks to Broadcast Tragically Hip Concert Over Ticket Scalper Controversy

Fans are in an uproar over ticket gouging online

Fans are in an uproar over a ticket scalping controversy for The Tragically Hip’s forthcoming Man Machine Poem tour, which has re-sparked debate over the government’s need to step in and regulate ticket sales.

Moments after the public on sale, fans were furious as tickets were nowhere to be found. Almost all tickets were quickly snatched up by resellers on StubHub and Kijiji. Tickets for the Toronto show that were originally priced at $56-$166 ended up online for $140-$1300, according to The Star, with their final farewell tour date in Kingston ranging from $720 to $5,000, The Globe and Mail reports.

The Hip added four more shows to alleviate complaints about lack of ticket availability, but fans once again felt shut out as the situation repeated itself. Emotions are high for Tragically Hip fans who are still reeling from Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer announcement.

Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur said at a press conference Tuesday that she sympathizes with fans who don’t want pay outrageous prices to see a band. Meilleur said she wants the ministry to look into the issue and is insistent about fixing the problem.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Ontario government has stepped in to bar scalpers. The Ticket Speculation Act makes it illegal to resell tickets at higher than face value, but less than 15 people have been have been charged under the act.

Since it’s police responsibility to investigate these offenses, Jay Strosberg, a lawyer who fronted a 2009 class-action against Ticketmaster says, “if you’re not going to enforce it, why is it on the books?”

Thank you for the support in this morning's registered users pre-sale. Due to overwhelming demand, the following four shows have been added to the Man Machine Poem Tour. The registered users pre-sale will be available for these four additional shows Ticketmaster, beginning at 10am local time on Tuesday, May 31st. The password has been sent to registered users. Check your junk folder if you do not see it. The public on-sale will be start on Friday, June 3 through Ticketmaster and their partner websites. July 26 – Vancouver, BC July 30 – Edmonton, AB August 3 – Calgary, AB August 14 – Toronto, ON Reminder: Please take note of the following tips in order to have the most enjoyable experience during the registered users pre-sale. 1. To speed up the checkout process, create an account with your payment information on Ticketmaster and ensure you are signed in before the pre-sale starts at. 2. GO TO Ticketmaster to purchase tickets and NOT thehip.com 3. Please follow the ticket limit guidelines set out on http://www.ticketmaster.com 4. If you encounter an issue during the checkout process please visit http://help.ticketmaster.ca or call 1-855-985-4357. #manmachinepoem

A photo posted by The Tragically Hip (@thetragicallyhip) on

The public’s inquest into ticket scalping has led to a petition for the CBC to broadcast The Tragically Hip’s final Kingston show. Seeing as a portion of tickets sales are being donated to the Sunnybrook Foundation, the creator is suggesting that a portion of advertisements and media coverage’s profits to be donated to the same charity.

Although StubHub has promised to donate an undisclosed amount to the SunnyBrook foundation, Strosberg said “what they’re really doing is to capitalize on a horrible situation.”
But The Star also reports that the CBC already had interested in broadcasting The Hip’s Kingston show. CBC communications adviser Emma Bédard said, “We are interested in airing the Tragically Hip’s final show and are having conversations with the band to see if we can make it happen.”

Previously, The CBC aired Leonard Cohen: Live in London, in 2009 when a similar situation occurred with his ticket sales.

What do you think should be done about ticket regulation? Sound off below.

Image courtesy Ryan Merkely via Flickr