The Aldeburgh Literary Festival Ticketing System - FAQs

We send all the forms out on the same day by post.  The tickets are then sold on a first-come, first-served basis.  Forms have to be delivered to the shop in person or by post.

Why do I need to give you my postal address?  Post seems rather old fashioned.

We send all the booking forms out at the same time by post.  There is no charge to go on the mailing list. We use the post because not everyone (particularly the  elderly)  uses the internet.

Why can I not book by telephone or email?

We only accept ticket applications by post or in person at the bookshop.  This gives the Aldeburgh and local residents an advantage. 

I put my form in on the morning of the day it arrived, but did not get all the tickets I wanted.  Why is that?

We have 2,600 people on the mailing list but we only have 235 seats in the Jubilee Hall.  Some of the more popular events are oversubscribed and some talks sell out in under an hour.  But not all, see below.

Why don't you use a ballot system?

There will always be some element of lottery.  We have decided to assign the lottery to the postal service with a weighting in favour of IP15 postcodes.

Why don't you have a Friends' Category for priority mailing?  I would be willing to pay a small joining fee.

We don't have enough seats to have a Friends' Category.  A 'Friend' might not necessarily get tickets for the events that are heavily oversubscribed.  At the moment, as there is no charge to be on the mailing list and receive the brochure, you have no financial loss in applying for a ticket.  If you had paid to be on a priority mailing list and then did not get tickets you would be justifiably annoyed.  It's for this reason, too, that we don't have any sponsors or donors as we don't have any seats to give away.

If I apply for a Rover Ticket for all events, am I more likely to get tickets?

Yes and no.  We have a set amount of rovers--less than half of the tickets available--and in recent years these have all sold out.  There are a few minutes (literally) when a rover will still be available but some individual events have sold out. 

Is there any point applying for tickets when I hear everything is sold out?

Please do apply for tickets--not everything sells out.  We give equal value to each very different talk and you may find that one is of interest that you might not have initially thought you would enjoy.  This is another reason we have the rover--to encourage adventurousness in our programming and our audience.  Just because you hear one event is sold out, doesn't mean the others are.

Why don't you move to a bigger venue, for example, Snape Maltings Concert Hall?

We want to keep it in Aldeburgh for many reasons.  Firstly, it is the Aldeburgh Literary Festival and belongs to the town of Aldeburgh.  It benefits the town, the shops, the restaurants and the galleries.  The conversation continues onto the streets long after the talks are over. 

Secondly, the venue is a good size for the spoken word and we love the intimate atmosphere of the Jubilee Hall. 

And finally it must be noted that not all of the talks sell out, so if we were to move to a bigger venue we would be left with empty seats.  We want to be able to present some lesser known and more academic talks, rather than just celebrities.  Our stars are sometimes less brightly lit.  Expansion is also a potentially dangerous route to go down and we would risk over-extending ourselves and altering the good thing that we have set up.

We have considered setting up a live link to the Aldeburgh Cinema, but that proved physically impossible.

How does the waiting list work?

We put your name on the list for tickets in the order in which they come in.  Up to the week of the Festival, if we do get returned tickets or tickets become available, we will contact you to ask if you are still interested in coming.  If we get returns after that then we may not have time to contact you in advance and the tickets will be resold on the door.

Do you take returns?

Not really.  The terms and conditions say the tickets are not returnable.  If you are unable to use a ticket, we encourage you to find a friend who can come instead.  However, we hate to see empty seats when we know there is a demand for space, and we understand that circumstances change, so yes of course we will try and help resell your tickets.  We charge a small returns handling fee. 

Why don't you put your prices up?

We have held the price per ticket at £12.00 for several years.  We would like as many people as possible to come to as many events and we don't want to make it too expensive.  It is thanks to generous volunteers who give their time to help us with the administrative costs, hosting speakers, etc, that we are able to hold the price at this level.

Why don't you restrict the amount of tickets one household can buy?

We don't take any bookings by telephone or email, so we encourage people to use a friend nearby to get their form back if they are away when the brochure comes out, so one application may cover a number of people.  We also feel that it is an enjoyable event and we would not like to think that you can't bring a friend.  Some book groups like to come, too.

Refunding and Reselling of Tickets

We only refund tickets if the advertised speaker is unable to attend. We will try to help people resell their tickets if they cannot attend but invariably we will not have time to do this at the last moment as we are too busy organising the festival. We would recommend that people make their own arrangements to resell their tickets.

It's not all bad: remember, there are over 4,000 seats available.  There is something for everyone.  We hope you will enjoy the Festival.

© Aldeburgh Bookshop    T: +44 (0) 1728 452389    42 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, IP15 5AB, England    
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