Terms and Conditions – how do concerts T&Cs work?

by Koka Tarini Siddhartha

Music shows and festivals have become an indispensable part of our lives. Admit it, we all attend at least one show a year, even if just to kill the monotony of life. The question is, how often do any of us really look at our tickets? Do we ever bother reading that extremely long passage, printed in the smallest possible font, titled ‘Terms and Conditions’?

Why are these terms important?

There are several reasons these terms can be important, some of which are less likely to be of use until a specific situation arises. It is still very useful to be aware of them, and even give them a read the next time you buy a ticket.

There are some standard terms such as the age bar (being above 18 years, or being accompanied by an adult if you are a minor), wearing the provided wristbands throughout the concert/festival, taking health precautions (avoiding strobe lights if you are epileptic, and so on), and making sure you purchase authentic tickets only. In this post, we take a look at some of the less obvious terms and conditions.

1. Alcohol and Narcotics

“Consumption and possession of narcotics is strictly prohibited and those found possessing or consuming the same at the event will be immediately handed over to the anti-narcotics police.”

Underage drinking is not permitted. The use or possession of any drugs or narcotic substances at the venue is punishable. Despite this, we often see concertgoers sneak these substances into the venue. In a previous post, we discussed this at length and even suggested ‘safe havens’ as an option. Since the health and safety of the concert attendees is of the highest importance, the organisers can be precautious and set up these safe havens, rather than live in denial.

2. Injuries at the Venue

“Sponsors, bands, organisers and management are not responsible for any injury or damage that may occur. No liability or claims that may arise due to the consumption or intake of any food or drink will be entertained.”

Imagine this scenario: You get an electric shock from a loose wire at the venue, or some temporary structure from the stage falls on you. Who would you sue? The organisers or management? The band? Surprise, surprise! The organisers are wary of this and thus often include a no-liability clause in their terms (more on this here). They often even purchase liability insurance which protects them from lawsuits.

There are always exceptions — some fans have successfully taken action against organizers or bands. In any case, make sure you keep an eye out for this term.

3. Bootlegging

“As a condition to enter the venue, you agree that any creation, storage or use of data or recordings in the form of advertisement, commercial gain or any other purpose (except for personal enjoyment) is not permitted without prior written permission.”

Not too long ago, we discussed the issue of bootlegging — both, the laws governing it and the artists’ approach to it. In simple terms, any (audio or video) recordings you make of any portion of the performances can only be used for your own personal enjoyment. Converting your recordings into commercial albums, or their distribution or resale to other persons, is prohibited by the organizers and performing artists.

4. Photographs and Footage of YOU

“The holder of the ticket grants the organisers the permission to use all or any part of the video recording or footage made of the holder’s appearance for advertisements, publicity and promotional purposes without the holder’s further approval, in perpetuity.”

You are at a concert/festival and see an official photographer or videographer focussing on you, and taking a photograph or a video clip of you dancing and singing away. Ordinarily, since you are in the photo or video, you should have rights over it. You should be able to decide when and for what purposes your image is being used.

Unfortunately, in this case, you cannot. The footage belongs to the organisers who are free to use it publicly, merely because you purchased the ticket and hence agreed to their terms. We have previously discussed publicity rights here. In India, this law is almost non-existent and even the legal cases that discuss this right mainly revolve around celebrities, unlike in the United States, where a few states extend this right to all citizens. Thus, even if you did want to take action against the organisers for the use of your image, you could not.

While there are also other terms and conditions, such as “no liability or claim will be entertained by the management due to consumption or intake of food at the venue” or “artist line-up is subject to change”, the four points we discussed above are some of the more important and relevant ones.

Remember, you agree to all these terms and conditions just by buying the ticket. It is your responsibility to read them — you need to know what you are signing up for when you enter the venue.


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