Most of the 180 or so fans gathered outside the Asheville Civic Center waiting for Phish tickets were mightily disappointed today. Tickets sold out in virtual seconds, with an error in the Ticketmaster system apparently releasing the 400 tickets that were supposed to be held back for the venue. Only about 20 people got tickets, said the Civic Center’s executive director Sherman Bass.
“What makes me sicker over it is that scalpers will turn them around and make lots of money,” Bass said.
The show’s promoter (LiveNation) called at around 8:30 a.m. Friday and asked how many people were in line, Bass said. Although he doesn’t know what criteria influenced the promoter’s decision, Bass said he was asked to hold back 400 tickets specifically for the Asheville fans. Tickets went on sale at 10 a.m.
But a computer error resulted in those tickets being sold. With only 11 shows announced for the wildly popular jamband’s reunion tour, the tickets went fast. Also, half the 7,200 Civic Center tickets had already been sold through the band’s fan club, Bass said.
In the morning, Bass and his staff passed out coffee and donuts to the waiting masses, many of whom had set up tents. Staff had also ordered portable toilets to accommodate the crowd.
The fans had put together their own list of those waiting so that a physical line wasn’t necessary. They entertained each other with games, guitars and even a portable disc golf hole. Xpress photographer Jonathan Welch has a photo gallery of the scene.
“They self-regulated,” Bass said. “We didn’t have any complaints.”