Beds, Herts & Bucks

Love Luton 2012 blames market for drop in ticket sales

Ticket prices for a Bedfordshire festival have been slashed because of a "difficult marketplace" and complaints about cost, organisers said.

Luton Borough Council has more than halved prices for concerts by The Wanted and Olly Murs at Love Luton 2012, on 6 and 7 July.

It will not reveal the numbers sold but its chief executive said website visits were "not converting into sales".

Trevor Holden said: "Festivals up and down the country have struggled."

'Confidentiality clause'

Love Luton 2012 is planned to coincide with the arrival of the Olympic torch in the town on 8 July.

Prices for the concerts on 6 and 7 July will be now be £15 instead of £32.50 and under fives can attend for free.

Those who have already purchased tickets will now be sent an equivalent number of additional free ones.

A public meeting earlier this year was told the council needed to sell 50% of the 20,000 tickets available for the combined events in order to break even.

However, the council will not give details of actual ticket sales or numbers because that would be in "direct breach of the confidentially clause within the artists' contracts".

Mr Holden explained that after initial ticket sales, the council continued to receive thousands of visits to the festival website but this had not translated into sales.

'Family weekend'

"We know other festivals up and down the country, and even the European Football Championships, have struggled in what is a difficult marketplace.

"We can compensate for cheaper tickets by reducing our infrastructure costs elsewhere."

He also revealed that feedback had indicated ticket prices were too high, particularly for families.

"The whole purpose of having the festival is so the people in Luton can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime event, Mr Holden said.

"We have changed our marketing strategy to really make it a family weekend."

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