Ticket scalping software to be banned in NSW

By Lily Mayers

Posted October 08, 2017 10:38:47

Software that automatically bulk buys online tickets as soon as they go on sale will be illegal when legislation from the New South Wales Government is introduced.

A reform to the state’s Fair Trading Act will outlaw the software that circumvents ticketing website protections, the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean said.

“What we’re seeing is ticket bot technology being used to sweep up tickets and deprive genuine fans of getting access to the concerts and sporting events that they want to see,” he said.

The live entertainment tickets that are bought by the software are then resold at marked-up rates.

The Minister said the Australian-first legislation would stop this from happening.

“It’s time that genuine fans got a fair go and were able to access tickets at a reasonable price,” Minister Kean said

“I’m sick and tired of consumers being ripped off by shonky operators trying to make a quick buck at the expense of genuine fans.”

The Minister would not confirm if a mark-up cap would be applied to resold tickets.

Some Australian states have already introduced legislation to limit the amount that tickets can be resold for.

The legislation will be introduced this week.

Topics: software, events, sport, consumer-protection, sydney-2000

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Carols by Candlelight splinter ignites community backlash in Hobart

Posted August 22, 2017 06:21:09

A move to break up Hobart’s traditional Carols by Candlelight into smaller community-based events has angered residents.

The popular St David’s Park event was altered in 2015 and again in 2016.

But after a ticketing fiasco last year, the Hobart City Council abandoned its joint production with local company ExitLeft Productions.

The council voted on Monday night to instead plough $46,500 into a series of smaller community events.

The move has prompted a backlash on social media, with a stream of people venting on ABC Radio Hobart’s Facebook page.

Jolanda Narrding posted: “Disappointing. Christmas in Hobart will never be the same again.”

“Absolute rubbish idea. Literally, is this a joke?” Carinda Rue added.

Dianne Summers said: “These people have been around for five minutes, carols has been around for decades. Who do they think they are?”

Another post joked that the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) should take on the event and call it Dark Carols.

Instead of an outdoor event at the Royal Botanical Gardens, ExitLeft has opted to scale down and run a series of more intimate concerts in St David’s Cathedral, which holds 650 people.

As well, there will now be council-backed events in various locations around the city.

Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said the event needed to change and the community-based carols were a better idea which would cost considerably less than the $100,000 for St David’s Park.

“We do understand that some people will be disappointed because generations of people will have traditionally gone to St David’s Park,” she said.

“I’m personally sorry that it’s not going to be held there but I do think these community carols will go a long way towards fostering great community spirit.”

More events, more variety: Lord Mayor

She hoped the move would appease those lamenting the loss of the St David’s Park event.

“I hope so because the other one is a private operator doing their own thing,” she said.

“These ones are ones that we’ll be sponsoring and yes, they’ll be organising them as individual groups but there’s a variety.”

While some will be traditional carol nights with a religious theme, others will be community oriented, with singers from the SES, Rotary and the Hobart City Farm.

“Another good one will be a multicultural event held by the Korean Full Gospel Church in Hobart and that one’s going to have a Korean cuisine supper afterwards,” she said.

“So there’s a good variety, there’ll be some out at Lenah Valley on Turnbull Park, and Lansdowne Crescent and New Town will be coming together, a whole group of residents are organising that one.

“So I think overall there’ll be something for everyone in this group of carols.”

Topics: carnivals-and-festivals, christmas, events, christianity, local-government, hobart-7000

Hobart’s Carols By Candlelight concert goes indoors with battery-powered candles

Updated August 21, 2017 15:57:06

This year’s Hobart Carols By Candlelight event will be a paid-ticket, scaled-down, indoor affair with electric candles, organisers have announced.

ExitLeft Productions said the revamped Christmas carols event would be held at St David’s Cathedral, where audience capacity would be about 650.

ExitLeft managing director Ian Williams said the company decided to hold a more “intimate” event after feedback following last year’s event.

“We either had to go incredibly big or really bring it down to an intimate level and after looking around everywhere the cathedral turned out to be the perfect space,” he said.

This year’s carols will be several 70-minute performances, rolling across the weekend of December 9 and 10.

“This will give all of our audience members a chance to come along and celebrate Christmas with us at a time that’s going to be convenient to them,” Mr Williams said.

He said prices were still being worked out, but promised it would be affordable for families.

“All of the major carols events around the country have now had to become user pays and they have some very, very hefty ticket prices,” Mr Williams said.

“We’re going to be able to keep this to a reasonable ticket price.

“But of course remembering we’re so lucky in southern Tasmania that there are so many free carols events that people can attend, there really will be something for everyone.”

Mr Williams said charging an entrance fee would also help with demand.

“Being a paid event should hopefully slow down the speed that everybody purchases their tickets and sets it up so that everybody who wants to come along to this particular event … we can make room and fit everybody in,” he said.

This year’s concerts will feature “some of Tasmania’s leading performers plus national guest artists”, ExitLeft said.

The company said ticket holders would “receive electric candles on arrival to create a magical candlelight experience”.

In 2015, two free, council-backed carols concerts were held at St David’s Park in Hobart, attracting about 5,000 people each night.

A week later, ExitLeft ran their one-night event at the Botanical Gardens, with admission prices ranging from $15 to $25, with children 12 and under free.

Council and ExitLeft joined forces in 2016, allowing the removal of the admission fee, but the event was marred by a ticketing fiasco which saw many people missing out on attending after 10,000 tickets were snapped up within minutes.

In March this year, Hobart City Council announced they were redirecting funds from ExitLeft’s carols to smaller events, in part due to the public backlash following the 2016 ticket dramas.

‘Very sad to have to pay to go to church’, Mayor says

Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said it was “sad” the free carols event in St David’s Park were no longer.

“Generations of families have taken their blankets and sat in beautiful St David’s Park and enjoyed the carols there,” she said.

In March, Alderman Hickey voted against the council decision to pull financial backing for a large-scale event.

“Things do change and the aldermen decided that it was time for change and they wanted a more community focus,” she said.

“I think it’s very sad to have to pay to go to church, but I do understand that ExitLeft are a professional organisation and need to cover their costs.”

Council will tonight consider approving more than $46,000 in funding for seven community-based carols events in Hobart.

Topics: carnivals-and-festivals, christianity, events, religion-and-beliefs, local-government, arts-and-entertainment, community-and-multicultural-festivals, hobart-7000

First posted August 21, 2017 15:04:31

In a remote town, a goat reigns supreme — for a few days, at least

Posted August 11, 2017 12:47:37

For a few days this week a goat will be king of a small town in Ireland’s rural south-west.

Billed as one of Ireland’s oldest festivals, the Puck Fair sees locals in the town of Killorglin pluck a wild mountain goat from its habitat and crown him “King Puck” for the duration of the event.

This year’s king was paraded through the town on Thursday, where he was crowned by the Queen of Puck — an honour bestowed on a local schoolgirl.

This year, 12-year-old Caitlin Horgan took the crown.

The goat appeared relaxed, if occasionally bemused, during his coronation.

“I’ve seen it for the last 11 years, so it’s nothing new but when I first moved here from England I thought it was strange,” festival-goer Ben Henry said.

“I heard a fella today saying he’s been coming to Puck for 57 years, so that says a lot.”

The festival will feature music, street performers and a horse fair.

The origins of the event are unclear, though there are many local theories — from a harvest festival to tales of a lone goat fleeing Oliver Cromwell’s troops into the village.

Organisers say historical references to the festival date back to the early 17th century.

As for King Puck, organisers say he is to be treated royally during his three-day reign with a diet of ash tree branches, water and cabbage to sustain him until he returns to his mountain home following his dethronement ceremony.

Organisers expect to welcome more than 100,000 visitors during the festival, which runs until August 12.


Topics: offbeat, human-interest, animals, events, ireland

Royal Adelaide Show flags extra security measures

Posted August 03, 2017 08:56:22

Bag checks and staff scanning patrons with security wands before they enter the Royal Adelaide Show is a sign of the times, the event’s general manager has said.

The Royal Adelaide Show’s Michelle Hocking said the beefed-up security was being put in place as a precautionary measure, saying “we don’t expect there to be any issues”.

“You will be slowed down at the gates a little bit compared to what you normally are, especially if you pre-purchase your tickets,” she said.

“Normally you just scoot straight through, you have your ticket scanned and off you go.

“But this year you will be asked to stop, we will have a look in your bag just to ensure that there is nothing there that is untoward and [there will] also [be] wanding.

“That’s not walking through scanners as such, it is actually what you see at other major venues now.

“It’s at airports, it’s at ovals … unfortunately I think it is a sign of the times with world events.”

She said the show always had a security and police presence and the biggest issue for them was reuniting lost children with their carers.

Ms Hocking said there was no rush to get through the showground gates as events ran all day and to avoid queues people should consider not arriving when the gates open at 9:00am.

The show runs from September 1 to 10.

Topics: events, arts-and-entertainment, community-and-society, adelaide-5000, wayville-5034, sa

Male ballet dancers overcoming stigma, pain to do what they love

Updated August 01, 2017 07:22:30

Forget tutus. What does it take for male dancers to overcome pain and injuries to make it in the fiercely competitive world of classical ballet?

Four weeks out from the auditions for the Sydney Eisteddfod, Australia’s biggest ballet competition, 18-year-old dancer Cameron Holmes was faced with a difficult decision.

A displacement fracture on his middle toe and a crush fracture on the next meant he had to choose: perform in the competition — risking further injury at the start of a long and, hopefully, fruitful dancing career — or go for glory?

“A lot of teachers told me not to do it. They said like, ‘Maybe skip this one. You don’t want to further damage it’.”

Holmes had been training for more than 40 hours each week to prepare for the competition.

So, what to do?

“I was like, let’s just see how I go. Do the audition, see what it’s like and if it’s sore I’ll just sit down.”

Decision made, Holmes reached the final of the eisteddfod, and all those weeks spent rehearsing for his moment under the spotlight at the Sydney Opera House paid off.

“It’s pretty crazy I think, just to be 18 and performing in front of a massive audience at this age,” he said.

“Yeah, that’s something I thought I would do when I’m further on in my career, not just yet.”

As physically demanding as any sport

As Holmes’ experience preparing for the eisteddfod shows, ballet can take its toll on the body as much as any sport.

“I think it’s tough. It’s not easy. You’ve got to do jumps, turns and you’ve got to make it look easy,” he said.

“With sport, you can show a grunt on your face. But in ballet, you’ve got to make it look like it’s effortless.”

Dancer Isaac Shaw, who also made it to the final of the eisteddfod, spoke of the discipline required of top-level dancers.

“I think ballet’s probably a lot more physically demanding that a lot of other sports,” the 16-year-old said.

“As much as we want our bodies to be limber and strong we have to also strengthen.

“It’s pretty intense right through from 8:30am to 4:00pm each day.”

But there was never any question of whether the broken bones and the thousands of hours of practice are all worth it.

“It doesn’t really matter what other people think if you enjoy it you should definitely do it,” Shaw said.

“And do what makes you happy.”

The stigma of the sport

As a former principal dancer and now teacher at the Queensland Ballet, Paul Boyd knows the lengths that dancers will go to make it in the art.

“The technical aspects of what’s required of them is huge now,” he said.

“Ballet dancers today are finely trained athletes.

“But then of course, we are artists.”

With so many capable dancers coming out of Australian schools, Boyd said many have to head abroad to find work.

“There is a lot of talent. We’re producing some beautiful young men,” he said

“Because of the job situation and because there’s not a lot of ballet companies, they do have to venture elsewhere.

“So I look upon it as training dancers for the world of ballet. They can head over to America. They can go to Europe.”

“They can go where they need to go and they’ve been as well trained as anyone in New York, or London or Japan.”

But the competitive nature of the world of ballet also has to compete with other forces to attract new male recruits.

Lucinda Dunn, the artistic director at the Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy, addressed the question of whether there were more boys going in to ballet.

“Unfortunately no. The stigma of the sport is always beating over the art of ballet,” she said.

“And it’s such an enriching art form in itself. We would love to encourage more boys.”

But Dunn, a former principal artist at the Australian Ballet, said there was one reason why men would always be important for classical ballet.

“The reality is you can’t be a female ballerina if you don’t have someone to stand behind you.”


Topics: dance, arts-and-entertainment, events, sydney-2000

First posted August 01, 2017 06:34:19