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Festivals Enjoy Ticket Sale Boom

(VIP) — UK music fans have snapped up tickets for this year's rock festivals in record time – just a few years after the scene was said to be on its knees. Reading, the V Festivals and T in the Park have all reported record-breaking sales after Glastonbury's 112,000 tickets sold out in 18 hours.

The war in Iraq, making people unwilling to travel abroad, and a new generation of fans shunning club culture in favour of live rock music have been credited with the resurgence.

"More of the major events have sold out faster than ever before," a Ticketmaster spokesman told BBC News Online.

In 2000, tickets for Glastonbury were still on sale one day before the event started, and poor sales were being blamed on too many festivals chasing too few fans.

But this year, Glastonbury tickets are changing hands for £400 – four times face value – on internet auction sites after the demand surprised organisers.

Bands including Radiohead, REM and the Manic Street Preachers will be the main attractions at the Somerset site from 27-29 June.

Tickets for V Festivals, now in their eighth year, have also seen more demand than ever, according to organisers.

Bands including Coldplay and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers will play the 65,000-capacity Hylands Park, Essex and the 70,000 Weston Park, Staffordshire in August.

The Essex leg has completely sold out, with just "a handful" of day tickets left for Staffordshire.

"The strength of the line-up obviously plays a massive part," V organiser Dawn Woodhouse told BBC News Online.

"But live music and guitar music is great again, and has made a great comeback – perhaps with the younger generation as well now."

The Reading Festival has also sold out in the fastest time in its 32-year history.

The camping portion of its 55,000 tickets were bought in three weeks and its sister event in Leeds, plagued by crowd trouble for the last two years, are disappearing faster than last year.

Rock comeback

Blur, Metallica and Linkin Park will play at both sites over the August bank holiday.

And Scotland's largest festival, T In the Park, with a line-up including REM and Coldplay, has enjoyed a record-breaking year and has raised its capacity to 55,000.

Organiser Geoff Ellis said: "This has been a fantastic year for ticket sales, helped partly by the beautiful spring weather."

Alex Needham, associate editor of music magazine NME, said there was a general resurgence in live music and war persuaded many fans not to take foreign holidays.

"People have gone off the club thing and are into live music again," he said.

Word of mouth

"The last couple of Glastonburys have been sunny and very well-organised and gone off well, and Reading last year had a good bill so I think it's word of mouth as well.

"The people who have been going for the last couple of years have had a really good time and told their mates."

The Ticketmaster spokesman said Glastonbury's message that fans needed a ticket had made fans more willing to book ahead.

"They're much more aware that when these events are announced, they need to get a ticket," he said.

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