Northern Ireland

Belfast council warns over free Van Morrison ticket sale

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Media captionThe free concert is being held to mark Van Morrison being granted the freedom of Belfast

Tickets for a free Van Morrison concert are invalid if they have been bought or sold, Belfast City Council has warned.

The warning comes as concert tickets appeared for sale on the internet.

The concert is being staged on Friday at the Waterfront Hall to mark the freedom of the city being awarded to the east Belfast man.

While the council has warned that tickets that have been bought are void, it is unclear how this would be policed.

A council spokeswoman said: "If we become aware of any Van Morrison tickets that have been sold for profit, they will become null and void.

"This event has given Van fans a unique opportunity to be part of this civic occasion and we will do everything possible to ensure that tickets are used by those who were successful in the draw, and according to the terms and conditions of the competition."

A fifth of the tickets are reserved for councillors and VIPs, while 2,000 were allocated - free of charge - to people living in Belfast through an open lottery.

Six tickets have also been allocated to Belfast City Council staff.

But not long after they were distributed, advertisements offering tickets for sale to the general public appeared on the internet. One advert invited potential purchasers to make bids.

It is believed that tickets have changed hands for £100 a pair.

A spokesperson said the cost to the council of staging the concert would be about £58,000.

In a statement, the council also said that Mr Morrison "has not asked for, and will not be receiving, a fee".

"Van's band and crew will receive their standard professional fee, but details of the exact amount is privileged under the Data Protection Act, on the grounds of commercial confidentiality."

Meanwhile, Van Morrison's production company, Exile Productions, have said they are "saddened" that certain coverage of his upcoming concert has focused on its cost.

"We are saddened that certain people have felt the need to sully this special event," it said.

"The most important thing to Van is that he is doing his gig for free and that the people of Belfast are coming to see it for free.

"Van's band and crew are themselves working people and deserve to be paid for their services like anyone else."

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