ArtsQuest to Hold Press Conference with PA Legislators in Support of House Bill 1658

House Bill 1658 legislation would legally put a stop to speculative ticket selling which negatively impacts organizations like ArtsQuest, concert goers and musicians.

House Bill 1658 was passed unanimously out of the House Consumer Affairs and Utilities Committee on October 4 and is now awaiting a final House vote in mid-October. If the Bill passes the House, it will go to the Senate.

October 9, 2023 – ArtsQuest will hold a press conference on Tuesday, October 10, to speak on the importance of putting an end to speculative ticket selling, through House Bill 1658, legislation that would ‘prohibit unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts of practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce – prohibiting speculative ticketing acts or practices.’ The press conference will take place at 12 p.m. in the Musikfest Café at the ArtsQuest Center.

ArtsQuest’s Musikfest Café is the ideal venue to host this press event to show its support for both the legislators who have introduced House Bill 1658 as well as to educate the public on how ticket speculation negatively impacts organizations like ArtsQuest, along with concert goers and artists, on both a local and national level.

Speakers will include Representative Steve Samuelson, Northampton County and Kassie Hilgert, President and CEO ArtsQuest. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is also in support of this legislation.

“I am fully supportive of this legislation to end third party ticket selling, also known as ticket speculation,” commented Mayor William J. Reynolds. “It hurts venues like ArtsQuest, the musicians who perform in our city and the patrons who look forward to seeing their favorite bands. Intentionally selling tickets at inflated prices and causing confusion when it comes to simply attending a concert hurts residents and visitors who come here to our city. We look forward to this bill moving forward and thank the legislators who are supporting it.”

“We are taking this valuable opportunity to urge the public to contact their representatives when it comes time to vote for the passing of this important bill,” said Kassie Hilgert, President and CEO ArtsQuest. “With the vote taking place in the very near future, timing is crucial. Let’s work together to put an end to this deceitful practice that takes advantage of patrons, musicians and the music venues that are adversely affected.”  

ArtsQuest, whose mission is to provide access to exceptional artistic, cultural and educational experiences for all, using arts and culture as key elements of economic development for our urban communities, relies heavily on revenue from ticket sales to help fund approximately 4,000 programs centered around the arts and music including camps and classes for all ages, festivals and concerts of which over 50% are free to the public.

What are speculative ticket sales and how does this practice mislead and directly hurt individuals who purchase tickets, venues and the artists who perform concerts around the world?

  • Speculative ticket selling, also referred to as third-party sellers, are ‘selling’ tickets that they do not have in their possession, and at a significantly higher price.
  • Individuals purchase spec tickets on these broker sites for a significantly higher amount than the face value of the ticket. (Approx. 60-70% of people who reach out to ArtsQuest about tickets they bought through a third-party website have no idea they purchased tickets this way).
  • Speculators state on their website or through direct use of social media that a show is sold out when there is, in fact, plenty of inventory available.
  • Multiple tickets for the same seat may be sold, leaving purchasers without a seat and the organization having to find adequate seating, if available.
  • If a show is canceled or moved and the organization determines that refunds are available, it is impossible to directly refund a ticket that is purchased through a speculator and assistance is unreliable at best.
  • Safety concerns are rampant since the organization has no knowledge of exactly who is inside the venue as there is no ticketing information on an individual who may be attending a concert with possible bad intentions.
  • The artist themselves are affected as mislead fans do not understand why they paid an exorbitantly high price for a ticket, creating possible backlash against the artist and affecting future ticket sales.
  • The artist receives payment based on the original ticketing agreement, not for a third-party increased price which can be misleading which can significantly impact the local musician.

Media are invited and encouraged to attend.

About ArtsQuest
ArtsQuest’s mission is to provide access to exceptional artistic, cultural and educational experiences using arts and culture as key elements of economic development for our urban communities. ArtsQuest™ supports this mission via the presentation of performing and visual arts, film, arts education classes and outreach, youth programming and cultural events. Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest; the Banana Factory Arts Center; and the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.9 million people annually. The organization’s programs and events, of which over 50% are free to attend, have a combined economic impact of more than $136 million annually in the region.