A dark day for local Phish fans

Most of the 180 or so fans gathered outside the Asheville Civic Center waiting for Phish tickets were mightily disappointed the morning of Friday, Jan. 30. Tickets for the band’s June 9 concert sold out in virtually in seconds, with an error in the Ticketmaster computer system apparently releasing the 400 tickets that were supposed to be reserved for sale at the venue.

Photo by Jonathan Welch

Only about 20 people got tickets there, said Civic Center Executive Director Sherman Bass. Many had been camped out for two nights in sub-freezing temperatures.

“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 before most of the Asheville crowd could get them. With only 11 shows announced for the wildly popular jam band’s reunion tour, the tickets went fast across the country. Also, half the 7,200 Civic Center tickets had already been sold through the band’s fan club, Bass said.

Friday 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.

“They self-regulated,” Bass said. “We didn’t have any complaints.”


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2 thoughts on “A dark day for local Phish fans

  1. Rylin Hansen

    I’m not a Phish fan myself, but I’m no lover of Ticketmaster, and when I heard this story on NPR, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100301389, I sat up and took notice. Someone should talk to Sherman Bass about this, because it might not have been an “unintentional” glitch that caused these tickets to get diverted! Grounds for action perhaps? Grounds for the Civic Center to ditch Ticketmaster, I hope!

  2. Maegan Beard

    I heard about the exact same type of thing happening with people trying to get Jimmy Buffet and Bruce Springsteen tickets (both through Ticketmaster). I can’t understand how their method of doing business is even legal.

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