Demand for Latvian Song and Dance Festival tickets sky high

This time around, 62% more tickets were on sale for the Song and Dance Festival as compared to the previous festival. Nevertheless, the demand for this year's hottest tickets was ten times higher than the supply, organizers say.

Latvian Radio reports that festival organizers are to meet the sales organizers, the Bilesu Paradize ticket system on March 5 over deficiencies and customer complaints against the seller.

As reported, there was a falling-out between the organizers of the festival and the ticket agency over a surcharge the agency was applying to online purchases, dubbed an "internet store usage fee" and applied on top of the face value of the ticket.

Most of the tickets were sold on March 3, when they went on sale, and by the morning of March 5 tickets were available for only two of the dozens of events for the festival.

"Objectively speaking, more people got their tickets. In 2013, 44,000 out of 58,000 available tickets were sold during the first day, and 81,309 out of 95,250 tickets were sold on the first day," said Eva Juhņēviča, the executive director of the festival. 

Nevertheless, people buying the tickets online had to wait for up to seven hours to get the chance to buy tickets. 

Bilesu Paradize board member Ēriks Naļivaiko denied claims the ticket sales system operated slowly, and claimed that the website had come under a cyber attack as tickets went on sale. 

The demand for this year's hottest tickets was very high. "These two days have been very tense for us, seeing as the total demand for tickets was about one million, but only 95,000 tickets were available to all the concerts," said Juhņēviča. 

It's expected there'll be about 43,000 participants at the massive festival, and Juhņēviča says organizers may come up with an initiative to add more concerts or sell tickets to concert rehearsals. 

Culture Minister Dace Melbārde, meanwhile, said on Facebook that for the next festival an international tender could be organized for ticket sales, or maybe the tickets could be sold in a lottery. 

Despite measures to reduce ticket-touting, there were also tickets appearing for re-sale or exchange immediately via online ads sites.

The festival will be free for children up to seven, and all Song and Dance Festival participants will be able to watch the closing concert at the Mezaparks Grand Stage free of charge.

The festival's program includes a total of 63 events, concerts and performances, of which most will be free. In addition, many of the festival's concerts will be aired on Latvian Television, said the Latvian National Center for Culture.

The total number of invitations to the Song and Dance Festival will not exceed 2 percent of the total number of tickets.

The Song and Dance Festival will run from June 30 to July 8 in Riga.

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