Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014 part 23

The problems and treatment disabled people faced at some concerts (see part 22), were not the only hiccups I witnessed during this 2014 version of the Early Music Festival Utrecht.

While queuing to try and get hold of tickets for fringe concerts at the beginning of most festival days, people told me members of the public were getting into concerts using tickets of previous (fringe) concerts. (See part 17 and further.)

Volunteers just did not check if people had tickets. If volunteers checked fringe concert tickets, they did not check if the ticket was actually for that very concert. On at least two occasions, people had warned volunteers this was taking place. The attitude of many volunteers was sheer indifference. Oh – not altogether: they thoroughly checked the tickets of the persons who dared complain people were getting seats others had a right to.

Later that day, I witnessed similar incidents. But many a fringe concert later, volunteers still could not be bothered to check if people actually had tickets for the concert these volunteers were supposed to manage. Nor did they bother to check if the ticket shown, happened to be the right ticket for the right concert.

People also told me, they not only got lost in Tivoli-Vredenburg. They were able to wander all over the place, opening various doors, without meeting any security or staff. A few ended up attending concerts for free – without tickets. Whereas the audience had had to pay between 10 to well over 50 Euro per ticket per concert. Most of these concerts were also sold out.

I could not help but congratulate those who accidentally wandered in and enjoyed a magnificent concert for free – thanks to a lack of supervision by security, staff, and volunteers.

Friends of mine from Australia, had tried to buy tickets through the Early Music Festival website, months in advance – to be certain they got prime seats? The website did not work. They finally mailed the organisation. After much back and forth mailing, they were told tickets would be reserved. In the end, the Australians were able to collect their tickets at the festival ticket boot – but not without problems and of course, not for the seats they had wanted. They were not unique.

The festival ticket boot had been and remained in a distant corner of the top floor despite many complaints. On Monday, at least there was a separate table and queue for fringe tickets. But the public still had to queue, then use four escalators and cross as many floors to start queuing again, for tickets. Everybody presumed it was impossible to have the Early Music Festival ticket boots on ground floor level. Though of course, the Tivoli-Vredenburg ticket boots – closed – were on ground floor level.

The need to have the Early Music Festival ticket boots on a top floor in the Tivoli-Vredenburg building was – as so much during this Festival – a big fib. For Friday the 5th of September, the fringe tickets were suddenly handed out from a desk on the ground floor of the Tivoli-Vredenburg building.

Why? The organisation needed all the space possible on the other floors for the Early Music Festival market. As if the two-day music market is now as well visited by people wanting to sell or buy harpsichords, violins, harps, flutes, sheet music as decades ago when one could hardly pass through the crowd.


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