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Amsterdam’s new rules ‘tough blow’ for events

The Dutch industry has slammed new regulations introduced by the Amsterdam municipality in response to a murder at a local festival.

The new rules require events with a capacity of more than 2,000 people to halt ticket sales one day before the event takes place, among other things.

The restrictions come after a 21-year-old man was stabbed to death in May at Amsterdam-based techno and house festival Solid Grooves, organised by ID&T-backed Apenkooi.

ID&T said they identified “serious shortcomings” in the organisation of the festival – including by selling “significantly more” tickets than was permitted – and subsequently dismissed its management team.

It was later revealed the organiser had applied for a permit for 4,999 people but the event was attended by around 7,500, rendering security at the festival insufficient.

“This can have major financial consequences for organisers”

Reacting to the news, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema imposed a total of four new permit requirements on organisers “to ensure the safety of visitors”.

In addition to halting last-minute ticket sales, Amsterdam events may “never allow more than the number of permitted visitors to be present simultaneously within the gates of the event site” and events must submit a “security deployment plan” approved by the police at least two weeks before the start.

Artists and crew are now also included in the total number of visitors allowed in the building according to the permit.

The new restrictions have prompted Amsterdam promoters Pleinvrees and Awakenings to cancel tickets for sold-out events at this week’s Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).

“Following recently issued guidelines from the Municipality of Amsterdam regarding permits, there has been a change whereby artists and their entourage are no longer considered crew,” read a statement from Pleinvrees. “This has led to more limited capacity for regular visitors. These tightened regulations came as a surprise to us.”

“[The measures] are nothing more than a band-aid which ultimately will not solve the crucial problems”

Awakenings wrote in a statement: “To ensure that we meet our obligations, we are forced to give a limited number of visitors their money back, a difficult decision. We choose the last ticket buyers. Unfortunately, returning your money is the only solution. We understand that this decision comes unexpectedly.”

While a spokesperson for ADE added: “This is a tough blow for organisers who have not sold out 24 hours before the start. We cannot yet see the extent of the negative consequences, but the festival summer was already financially difficult for many organisers, so we can imagine that this measure will fall flat on their roof.

“This can have major financial consequences for organisers, because the last tickets often contain the earnings that pay the fixed costs.”

Meanwhile, Amsterdam-based blockchain ticketing service GUTS Tickets dubbed the measures “nothing more than a band-aid which ultimately will not solve the crucial problems at hand”.

While large events are not permitted to sell tickets in the 24 hours preceding the event, resale platforms are exempt from these rules.

“These regulations inadvertently encourage a surge in secondary ticket sales, increasing the potential for fraud and scalping,” says GUTS co-founder Tom Roetgering.


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