KUWAIT: Internationally-renowned artist Yanni, who is famous for his modern classical music, will be performing in his first concerts in Kuwait at the Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center (JACC) this weekend. The musician has a large fanbase in the Gulf region, but his fans were let down after tickets for his two concerts were all sold out within an hour of their release. Fans expressed their displeasure and suspected a mass ticket purchase by scalpers in order to sell them at sky-high prices. A recent report by Al-Rai newspaper said prices of tickets had reached KD 1,000.
So I decided to investigate by pretending to be willing to buy a ticket only a few days before the event. I tweeted my request with the hashtag Kuwait. In less than 30 minutes, private offers began to pour in by scalpers. It is clear that they keep a watchful eye on social media. Two of them were using bogus names – one of them had three VIP tickets, while the other offered me two.
Meanwhile, a third was using both Twitter and Instagram to sell the tickets publicly under an authorized website’s name. However, if you want to make a purchase, you must do it through them privately. The account owner sent me a ticket price list ranging from KD 200 to KD 550. They also mentioned that VIP Premium/Premium Plus tickets are available on request and all prices are negotiable.
Later, another man sent me a direct message, offering one ticket, but with his name on it. He wanted KD 400, because, as he described himself: “I am not one those scalpers.” But the next day, he tried to remind me that I would miss the chance of getting the ticket at the same price, and that I have less than 24 hours before he raises the price!
The JACC ticket black market is not an illusion or a rumor spread by a bunch of people who could not afford them. It is a real crisis that must be addressed in respect for the status and the name of the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
By Athoob Al-Shuaibi