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Live Aid promoter Harvey Goldsmith furious as Royal Albert Hall

Monday, January 9, 2017   (0 Comments)

Live Aid promoter Harvey Goldsmith furious as Royal Albert Hall allows its members to resell tickets for Dave Gilmour concert

In one corner stands the Royal Albert Hall, one of Britain’s greatest concert venues. In the other is one of the country’s richest music promoters, a man of illustrious proportions who has a client portfolio to match.

Now the two are locked in the sort of dramatic conflict which, if it were a play, ballet or musical, they would both be happy to charge the paying public to watch.

The Royal Albert Hall is involved in a bitter dispute with Harvey Goldsmith, the producer of Live Aid, after the charity that owns the venue allowed debenture holders to circumvent a ban on the reselling of tickets.

Mr Goldsmith, who organised the concerts by David Gilmour, said Royal Albert Hall’s behaviour was “morally reprehensible” and has urged the Charity Commission to take action.

The row centres on the decision by the Royal Albert Hall to allow debenture holders – who own a fifth of the hall’s 5,000 seats – to sell on free tickets for large profits, rather than return them to the box office for sale at face value. A majority of these seat holders also dominate the charity’s ruling council, which has raised questions about whether it is being run for the public benefit.

Mr Goldsmith feels strongly that the debenture holders should not be profiteering from the resale of their tickets at the expense of music fans.

The Telegraph can disclose that the charity specifically circumvented a ban on ticket touts selling seats to David Gilmour concerts on Sept 23, 24 and 25, 2015.

Tickets were in high demand for the concert by Gilmour, who joined Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-lead vocalist in 1968, and played a key role in the band’s acclaimed albums The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.

In an email in March 2015, months before the concert was due to be staged, Simon Boyd, the members’ co-ordinator, told seat holders: “The promoter of the David Gilmour performances has put additional terms and conditions of sale in place with the aim of limiting the number of tickets being made available for sale on the secondary market.” 

These conditions included printing the name of the customer on the ticket, and requiring them to show photo ID to enter the hall at the same time with the rest of the party.

Mr Boyd added: “The Hall has made it clear to the promoter that their conditions of sale do not apply to members’ tickets. However, given the profile of this event (and as these conditions of sale will be widely known) we thought it appropriate to bring this to your attention. Further information regarding entry arrangements for members and/or their guests will follow shortly.” 

Mr Goldsmith – who over 30 years has promoted shows for most of the world’s biggest artists including U2, Bob Dylan and Madonna – told the Telegraph he and Gilmour were fully aware of what the trustees did.

He said: “They [the Albert Hall’s trustees] did exactly the same [in 2016] as well”, adding: “It is absolutely disgraceful. It is morally reprehensible for the council to allow this to happen.”

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