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Elton has branded Web sites reselling tickets to his shows this summer at inflated prices a “disgrace.”

The vocalist, who will perform on the opening night of the Henley Festival, urged fans not to pay over the odds to see him, saying: “I’d rather have empty seats.”

He added: “I think it’s extortionate and disgraceful. The fact they’re willing to pay that amount is fantastic but I’d rather they’d save their money and not come.”

His comments came after a would-be fraudster attempted to sell tickets to see Elton at Henley at almost 15 times their face value, despite not actually owning them.

A handful of tickets to see him perform on the “floating stage” on Wednesday, July 6, had appeared on the Viagogo ticketing Web site but were later removed after a news report about them was posted on the Henley Standard‘s Web site.

Meanwhile, the Kenton Theatre has booked Your Songs, an Elton John tribute band, for two nights on the weekend after the festival.

Ed Simons, chairman of the Kenton trustees, said he couldn’t resist booking the group.

He said: “I think everybody was thrilled to hear the announcement that Elton was coming to the festival and then, as always with all these things, so many people are disappointed when they can’t get tickets because there is only a certain number.

“We thought we would provide another opportunity for a few more people to see and experience an Elton John show, albeit a tribute.

“It is the number one Elton John tribute band in the UK and there will be a full band with piano, sax and drums. Joel is great — he looks the part, sounds the part and he plays all the well-known hits.”

The shows are on July 15 and 16 and tickets will cost £25.