Concerts and musical festivals are an exciting part of life that are finally getting back to normal as the world comes out of the pandemic. However, buying and selling tickets can be complicated. Whether it is waiting in virtual ticket queues or trying to sell your tickets online, there can be many barriers to accessing your favorite festival. This is where FestFriends, created by Shafqat Huq, comes in.
“I run a start-up called FestFriends, which provides users with a marketplace where they can buy and sell tickets to popular music festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, Ultra, Electric Daisy Carnival, and dozens of others across the United States. Our marketplace operates similarly to the stock market, where users can place bids (offers to buy) and asks (offers to sell), and makes the entire process extremely seamless,” Shafqat explains.
Shafqat decided to get involved in this business from his own personal experience. He has been going to festivals since he was 18. He fell in love with the energy and sense of community, which he says has provided him with some unforgettable experiences as well as helped him get through some hard times. As an adult, he wanted to provide value to the community that has given him so much.
“I have been attending music festivals since I was 18 as a freshman in college, and some of my fondest memories with friends have been on the festival grounds. These events, the community, and culture as a whole, have helped my friends and I through some of the most difficult times in our lives, and I’m sure the same can be said for countless others. I’ve organized dozens of group trips, and genuinely enjoy tackling the logistical challenges involved with coordinating tickets, travel, lodging, etc. in order to create the best possible experience for everyone around me. On the other hand, I have always had an interest in business, start-ups and technology. Building a marketplace that addresses a very real need in the festival space felt like the perfect way to get into the start-up world and position myself at the intersection of tech, media, and entertainment,” Shafqat recounts.
In addition to finding inspiration from his lived experience, Shafqat also wanted to disrupt thetraditional methods for concert and festival goers to buy and sell tickets, and create a more streamlined system with fewer fees and obstacles in the way. He felt that people who were looking to get tickets to festivals were often given worse deals and harsher penalties for simply wanting to go to a music festival.
“While concert and sports tickets are typically digital or paper and can be transferred electronically fairly easily, festival tickets are generally wristbands that have to be physically transferred from a seller to buyer. As great as StubHub and SeatGeek may be for quickly buying/selling tickets for concerts/sports, they’ve made no adjustments to their infrastructure or business model to account for the different process in which a festival ticket has to be exchanged.
In addition to that, StubHub and SeatGeek charge fees as high as 30% to both the buyer and seller, which the vast majority of festival-goers are simply not willing to pay. As a result, most secondary ticket transactions take place on platforms like Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, or OfferUp, where you have to deal with (potentially uncomfortable or dangerous) in-person meetups and a high risk of fraud,” Shafqat states.
Though 2020 and 2021 was a difficult year for concerts as it was for many industries, Shafqat has not slowed down one bit. He is excited to continue his work as the year comes to an end and is also working towards enhancing the interface for FestFriends, including features to book flights and accommodations within the app through partnerships with companies like Expedia and Vrbo. To find out more about Shafqat and FestFriends, follow him on Instagram here and check out his website here.