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US music festival drops ethnicity-based pricing

Ticketing partner Eventbrite and rapper Tiny Jag object to Detroit-based AfroFuture Fest setting ticket prices based on buyers’ skin colour

By Anna Grace on 08 Jul 2019

AfroFuture Fest changes ethnicity-based ticket pricing

Rapper Tiny Jag


image © Tiny Jag

AfroFuture Fest, a Detroit-based music festival that charged white people twice the price for tickets than people of colour, has standardised its ticket pricing.

AfroFuture Fest initially offered two strands of tickets, one “POC” set priced at US$20 and one “non-POC” option priced at $40.

“Our ticket structure was built to ensure that the most marginalised communities (people of colour) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community (black Detroit),” reads an explanation of the event’s initial ticketing structure.

“Affording joy and pleasure is unfortunately still a privilege in our society for POC and we believe everyone should have access to receiving such.”

The festival’s ticketing partner, Eventbrite, threatened to remove the event from its listings unless amendments were made to the pricing structure.

“We do not permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity,” said an Eventbrite spokesperson.

“Our ticket structure was built to ensure that the most marginalised communities (people of colour) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community”

“In this case, we have notified the creator of the event about this violation and requested that they alter their event accordingly. We have offered them the opportunity to do this on their own accord; should they not wish to comply we will unpublish the event completely from our site.”

Detroit-based rapper Tiny Jag pulled out of the event after learning of the ticketing policy and apologised to “anyone who may have been triggered or offended”.

Afrofuture Youth, the community-based programme behind the festival, has now set all tickets at $20, with a “suggested donation for non-people of colour”.

The group’s founder and co-director, Adrienne Ayers, says the ticket structure was changed “for safety, not anything else but that”, following “threats from white supremacists” and “racist comments” on social media.

Half of the profits from the festival, which takes place on Saturday 3 August at Detroit’s Feedom Freedom farm, will go towards Afrofuture Youth.

 


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