The Elbphilharmonie is adapting a new means of selling tickets after the enormous demand for tickets in the opening season put a burden on the concert hall’s online sales. Tickets for most concerts in the 2017/18 season as well as those for the upcoming 3rd International Music Festival Hamburg underway from April 27-May 30, 2018 are being sold per order. Tom R. Schulz, Press Officer at the Elbphilharmonie, remarked: “That has gone well. Competing against time is no longer an issue – nor is the technical equipment. Nobody has an advantage over someone else simply because their computer is faster. No-one has to be at one of the sales outlets at a certain time – that caters to both early birds and night owls.” Concerts to mark the opening of the Elbphilharmonie were held over two days in January 2017 amid unprecedented demand. A total of 1,000 free tickets were raffled among 230,000 registered applicants.
Tickets to be sold at random when demand exceeds availability
Most concerts in the Grand Hall are still sold out. “To let some steam out of the kettle, tickets for nearly all of the Elbphilharmonie’s own events – or around one-third of all concerts – are being sold by order until further notice. Tickets will be sold at random, if the orders surpass the number of seats available,” said Schulz. Last October, the Elbphilharmonie received 54,000 orders for tickets to a concert by the U.S. band “The National” in the Grand Hall, which seats 2,100 people. That was an exception and depends on the concert, he added.
Tickets for the Grand Hall
“Generally speaking, the situation is calming down somewhat. Customers are gradually buying according to their real interests,” said Schulz. A section on the Elbphilharmonie’s homepage shows concerts for which tickets are available. “Most of those events will be held in the Kleinen Saal,” said Schulz. However, tickets for some concerts in the Grand Hall are still available. People who subscribe to the Elbphilharmonie’s newsletter can get an overview of upcoming concerts, special events and festivals and find out when new tickets go on sale. Schulz warned against buying black market tickets, or for instance, on online ticket platforms: “I have had some tragic phone calls from visitors who had paid a four-digit sum instead of the EUR 18 printed on tickets. And there is no guarantee that the tickets are authentic.”
The demand for Elbphilharmonie tickets has remained incredibly high since sales began in June 2016. This has spurred illicit black market traders to offer tickets at elevated prices. Even tickets for concerts that do not even exist or will exist, but have not yet gone on sale, are offered on the black market.
Younger, more diverse visitors
Outrageously priced, fraudulent tickets for classical concerts are rare and the extent of illicit ticket sales was not as high before the Elbphilharmonie opened, said Schulz. The concert hall’s appeal continues unabated and is attracting more newcomers to classical music. “It’s great that such a spectacular building with top class concerts is so hugely attractive to a new circle of listeners,” he stressed. Visitors are younger and more diverse. Many of them enjoy the concerts so much that they want to come again soon. The Elbphilharmonie is also changing Hamburg’s image: “In terms of culture, Hamburg saw itself mainly as a city of musicals and marketed itself accordingly. Now tourists who are interested in culture are visiting the city also.”