[Weekender] Ticket scalping rampant at campus festivals

By Bak Se-hwan

Published : May 18, 2018 - 15:06
Updated : May 18, 2018 - 18:57

Among the biggest -- and most exciting -- events in university life in Korea are the campus festivals that are held annually across the country.

Konkuk University’s campus festival poster


Varying in format and size from university to university, the festivals usually take place for two to three days in May, frequently featuring K-pop celebrities and artists.

The May university festival season also means rampant ticket scalping by students.

According to posts on several university online communities, students started selling festival tickets online at six times the original price just hours after they were put on sale.

Festival organizers, mostly student bodies, usually reserve in advance admission tickets for students from their college. The remaining tickets are later sold to the off-campus population, typically eager K-pop fans and concertgoers.

Some organizers try to limit ticket sales at the request of students who claim purchasing tickets from the school for resale is illegal.

Yonsei University’s online community site recently decided to ban resell posts that began circulating online even before the organizer had distributed the tickets to students for the upcoming 19th campus festival.

As part of measures to crackdown on reselling, Konkuk University student organizers announced ahead of its festival that they would check student identification cards at the concert venue.

Most agree that reselling should be restricted, at least to some extent.

Park Byung-sun, 22, a Konkuk University student, said the reselling practice hurts fans who are forced to buy tickets on the secondary market at a higher cost.

“It’s not just our college, but reselling is just everywhere. For famous sports events, brokers use staff members and bots to buy up available seats before ordinary fans can get their hands on them. I think it’s a cultural practice that we must not neglect at college levels,” Park said.

Kim Hye-min, 31, a fan of boy group Winner who was invited to perform at Konkuk University, said the school’s decision to ban reselling discourages festival lovers.

“I tried to purchase the ticket, but I heard they will check student’s ID,” Kim told The Korea Herald.

“Campus festivals are now for ordinary fans of K-pop as much as they are for college students. They’ve become a culture where everyone can enjoy and watch their favorite performers,” said Kim, who said she failed to purchase a ticket to the Konkuk University concert.

According to police, however, reselling tickets at prices above the original price is illegal, although anti-scalping laws are not always strictly enforced.

By Bak Se-hwan (sh@heraldcorp.com)

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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation