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Lyte — the reservations technology platform reimagining event ticketing — has partnered with the Newport Folk Festival for the past 4 seasons, giving fans a safe and simple way to sell or exchange their tickets if their plans change. This year the festival has implemented Lyte’s anti-scalping technology and as a result announced a surprise limited release of tickets for this past weekend and an expanded Weekday Edition that runs from today through Wednesday (7/26-28).
The ticket inventory was sourced from cancelled scalper orders on the Folk Exchange, a reservation and return platform powered by Lyte, which has partnered with a number of festivals this year including Life Is Beautiful, Pitchfork Music Festival, Under The Big Sky, Riot Fest and Baja Beach Fest. This limited release of tickets is an exclusive offer for all members of the Newport Festival Foundation and will be issued on a first come first serve basis through Lyte. Inventory is limited, though the Folk Exchange will continue taking reservations through the event. Returns for the event have now closed.
“Every year of the event, we find a way with our partners to innovate beyond where traditional ticketing stops,” says Jay Sweet, Executive Producer of Newport Folk in a statment. “Our north star is a wonderful fan experience and we all know the experience starts long before doors open to our event. In a year where scalping is at an all-time high, Lyte’s scalper detection technology was our X-factor.”
“Jay and his team are fun to work with because they don’t stop innovating, despite the festival being one of the longest running and most successful in North America. They just don’t stop,” says Ant Taylor, Lyte CEO in a statment. “Lyte Exchange activity was at an all-time high this year, as folk fans are anxious to get back to the Fort. This bonus inventory release further thwarts the nefarious, unaffiliated secondary market.”
The challenges coming out of the coronavirus pandemic were no different for Newport Folk: capacity changes and public health concerns made marketing the event a challenge. The Festival and Lyte have worked to stamp out scalping and the secondary market over the last 4 years. Lyte measures market share of transactions after onsale and says that the Newport Folk Exchange has eliminated 80% of unaffiliated secondary market transactions. This year was especially challenging as scarce shows going on sale at limited capacities made prices on the secondary even higher.
“That hurts folk fans who are a loyal and honorable bunch,” Taylor adds. “By enhancing our detection technology and releasing these tickets we put last minute fans in a great spot to attend Newport Folk. My hope is that prices across the secondary will drop too. Actually my hope is that the unaffiliated secondary market just goes away; Newport Folk doesn’t need it. They set a record in the first year back from Covid.”