All the Tragically Hip Tickets are Gone. The Only Thing to Do Now is Move On–Or Pay Up.

Hip tickets are gone

Did you get Hip tickets? Did you even try? Or did you give up in disgust and frustration?

Let’s be clear: What we’ve seen this week is no different than what happens every time a big show goes on sale. But this is also very different. At no time in music history–at least as far as I can tell–has a beloved band gone on tour after announcing that one of their members has a terminal disease. And when that band is The Hip–do they come any more Canadian?–the intensity of the situation increases exponentially.

The band has no say in any of this. Once they sign the deal to do the tour, the logistics of selling tickets belongs to the promoter. They should not be blamed in any way for what’s been happening with ticket sales.

That being said, let’s begin this discussion by taking a look at the economics and the logistics of buying concert tickets today. Start with this article on Hipinomics from Macleans and then check out this report from the Globe and Mail. I’ll wait. Once you’re done, here are the seven ways ticket broker get tickets to big events when you can’t.

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Done? Now let’s look at some here are some emails sent my way that may provide some measure of commiseration. (Oh, and here’s a link to an open letter about the situation on Facebook that you should read.)

Hi Alan,

No luck here. Sitting at work with two browsers open, one for each night of shows here in Calgary (Aug 1 and Aug 3). Right when I was allowed to search, I entered in exactly what I wanted. A set of $86 tickets. 15min later my Ticketmaster screen is saying it’s still searching. And that if I refresh, or start a new search, I’ll lose my place in line.

I’m starting to think that there is no line.

The Hip were part of my childhood. The music that permeated my life growing up. In the car stereo. In the kitchen playing from the boombox. Whenever I hear a Hip song I’ll always think of my parents and the area I grew up in.

I don’t think you need more people to tell you that this whole ticket buying process is a disgrace.

Thanks for your time,

Josh from Calgary

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I’m beyond frustrated with this process. See photo attached!!

I was shut-out during the numerous pre-sales, but thought today would be different.  I had 3 laptops, an iPad, an iPOD and my iPHONE all ready to go for 10am (not to mention my wife on a few devices at work), and seconds later all came back with no tickets available.

Not only am I disappointed with the corrupt Ticketmaster (& StubHub) contribution to this mess, but extremely disappointed in The Tragically Hip for remaining quiet during all of this.  I know business is business, but this “feel-good” tour has left a very bitter taste in my mouth, and I’m sure the mouths of many, many faithful fans.

Hip computer effort

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Hey Alan – I just thought I would pass this on…  On Tuesday morning, I was once again logged in with multiple browsers on multiple machines (gotta love remote desktop sessions) on multiple different internet connections from Bell, Rogers and Bell Aliant.  I logged in at around 9:55 again across all the browsers, and at 10a when the pages refreshed, I got the same message that there were no tickets available.  I kept trying across all my machines.  At about 10:18 one machine that was on a Roger’s connection hit on 4 seats (this was for YYZ/Aug14).  They were nosebleed seats.  I declined, thinking I would take my chances.  The next search took maybe another 30 to 45 seconds and I was offered 4 more crappy seats in a different section.  I declined those, and after two or three more searches (being told there were no tickets available), I was offered 4 seats in the lower bowl at $166 each, which I promptly purchased.  All three ticket offers were on the same machine, and while those were occurring, I was still clicking search again on the other machines.

 So to me as someone with a pretty decent IT background – it seems as if TicketMaster’s system may be the issue here, not necessarily that they had no tickets left, since their site had been telling me for 20 minutes across multiple machines that there were no tickets available.  It would be interesting if both TicketMaster and The Hip’s management would explain 1.) how TicketMaster’s backend actually works (they never will though), and 2.) how many tickets were released for sale each day (or maybe each hour or time block) per venue.

 That said, I still believe that TicketMaster, Stubhub, etc are to blame for the scalpers and bots – there are things that could easily be implemented to prevent multiple purchases concurrently, but these companies obviously aren’t interested in looking after fans first.  And The Hip’s management team have to share part of the blame here.  A bit more work in generating a unique pre-sale code for each fan that could only be used once (at checkout when paying) would have helped (even if it was as simple as the fan’s registered email address).   Once that code is used (or fan’s email address has been registered as purchasing tickets), the code / email address is blocked from purchasing anymore (either permanently or for a time frame of 24 hrs or something).

Feel free to re-post this, or reply if you wish.

–dcc

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Hey Alan,

I’m so glad you are bringing attention to The Tragically Hip ticket disaster.

SOMEHOW, my dad and I ended up getting tickets. It was during the presale, an hour and a half after they went on sale. MY dad decided to try one more time for the Sunday show in Toronto and by some miracle, got 2 tickets. This was after I had tried for over an hour with 3 screens going. I was trying for Kingston and Toronto. I know at least 7 other people who tried to get tickets and none of them were successful. 

I am so so grateful my dad got the tickets. My dad and I have a mutual love for The Hip. He went to a Hip show a few days before I was born, despite my mother not wanting him to, because helloooo, I could have been born any minute. 

Anyway, my dad has loved them for over 20 years, and because of him I grew up listening to them. I’m now 21 and have seen The Hip two times. All I wanted for my dad was for him to be able to see the Hip in their hometown before he has to say goodbye to his favourite band of all time. 

Obviously I didn’t get tickets for Kingston. I tried during the presale and I tried today. My dad was also trying to get tickets to another toronto show so we could see them twice. It makes NO sense to me that all three shows we were trying to get tickets to sold out in less than a minute, but Stubhub gets them up there for ridiculous prices? The more I’m reading about TIcketmaster, the more I think it’s all a scam. What’s with their platinum seating too? It’s all so ridiculous

All Canadians want is to say goodbye to the band they probably grew up listening to or have loved from day one. When I think of the Hip I think of weekends at the cottage with my friends, I think of hockey, I think of roadtrips and BBQs with family, I think of Bobcaygeon haha, where my mom is actually from. I think of all the Canadian things I do and how The Hip were always just there, in the background. It hurts my heart to think that people who love them as much as my dad and I won’t be able to see them because they can’t spend the $500+ on one ticket. 

–Jordan

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Hi Alan,

I continued to attempt to secure tickets for the various pre-sales this week: AmEx, Live Nation app, and The Hip site’s ‘machine’ pre-sale. All to no avail all week.

Today, I attempted the regular sale, with little confidence. And my lack of confidence was correct. I was on at 10am (before even) and immediately there were no tickets.

TicketMaster needs to be held accountable for what has happened. I’m told by a fellow friend, who is a season-ticket-holder and owns the license to seats at the ACC. There is apparently no licensed seat-owner option for The Hip, which is quite odd.

Thanks for your efforts in attempting to get to the bottom of this.

–Jeff

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I was trying to get tickets to see the Hip. Scalpers and their software have taken them all. 

I normally would let this go, but this concert is really special to  me.  My mother in law passed away 1 month ago from the same 

cancer that Gord has been diagnosed with (they had the same doc at Sunnybrook). A week before we moved my mother in law into a

hospice, my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer as well. Again, the same as Gord.

My mother and my mother in law within a year from each other.  Glioblastoma brain cancer happens 2-3 times in every 100 000 people… and here I have both my mother and mother in law. It’s a nightmare.

I’ve always been a Hip fan. I really want to be there for any one of the 3 shows. But I don’t want to pay a scalper an inflated price so that he can benefit off of this horrible disease.

I AM WILLING TO PAY FOR MY TICKETS.  I am not looking for a freebie. Honestly. 

If you come across any tickets, and if they are available to you, please, I will pay for them.

Thank you

Susie

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Hi Alan,

I’d thought I’d share a good Tragically Hip ticket story with you.

So, at the wee hours of Friday morning, I made it to the Canadian Tire Centre to start waiting in line for tickets. Much to my relief, I wasn’t the first in line. In fact, I can tell you I was exactly 12th, because the first fellow in line (who had been there since WEDNESDAY) had started a numbered list to ensure there was absolutely no confusion as to whose spot was which. This left everyone in line free to make runs to the near by gas stations or for the folks who brought their dogs to walk around. It was a lovely wait too. Someone brought their little Bose speaker and had the men of the hour playing all night. We sang a long, told our personal Hip stories and just chilled out while the sun came up.

By the time 7am rolled around, the line started to grow…and still we made sure evey single person signed the list. By the time 9am rolled around, there were at least 30 names on the list. Around 9:30, the fellow who organized the list began passing out scrap paper – so that we could write all of our ticket information down and simply pass to the rep at the box office to make everything go as quickly as possible.

The result? I’m sure there was at least 50 people in line and I wouldn’t be surprised if most, if not all, of us got tickets. Myself, I got up to the window about 10:05 and had tickets in my hands 30 second later.

My point is, in the absolute shit storm of emotions we’ve been trying to properly process the past couple weeks, there have been a few cases of Tragically Hip fans getting exactly what they wanted. The people around me were getting floor and lower bowl seats, exactly what they were looking for.

Of course, I’m pretty sure if you physically went to the box office now you’d be just as SOL as everyone on the Internet. But for just a small moment, people looking for tickets to their final Tragically Hip concerts got their wish without hassel.

Sometimes it’s worth it to do things the old fashioned way.

Emily

Ps: I’ve included a photo of the list. 🙂

Hip tickets - in line

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Hi Alan

Saw you tweet and felt compelled to write to you.

I am a born and raised highway girl from K-Town.  I am home town proud and a true HIP fan to the core.  My love affair

Began in 1989 and I was awestruck and enamoured in 1992 seeing them live for the first time at Fort Henry (a 16 Year old’s dream, crushed, and rubbing skin to skin with 1000’s of screaming HIP fans throughout the night) while the band and Gord did his “gordthing”!

Lucky enough I saw them every other time they played in Kingston after 1992 including in the poring rain at Richardson Stadium.  Other concerts I between and then flash forward to the opening of the long awaited K-Rock centre in downtown K-Town!  I was there front row just giving it my all, again dancing my heart out during the concert for G (who in face was a friend).  Again last year in 2015 celebrating my band and the anniversary of Fully Completely!

I have been there, I grew up with their Roadie Billy Ray, I love the band, they are my band!  I was and still am devastated with Gord’s tragic news and I have been trying to no avail since Monday at 10:00 to get tickets to possibly see my band for the final curtain call.  

To say it sucks, hurts and is disappointing is a total understatement! I am beyond defeated and devastated that I have been robbed of my opportunity to say good bye by greedy corporate pirates!

Yes, I could afford to pay the ridiculous prices they are asking and yes I think seeing my band The Tragically Hip

At this point in time is priceless but I refuse to stoop to this method of greed!

I think all tickets should be cancelled and this whole sale redone….make us wait in line like the good old days and let the real fans and lovers of arts/music prevail!

Thank you for your time!!!

Heather

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Somehow I was miraculously able to score a pair of Hip tix to their first show in Toronto. They’re in the nosebleeds and not the greatest seats, but I’m not complaining – I’ll be in the building and feel completely fortunate.

What I have trouble understanding is Ticketmaster knowingly has a security system in place that is completely futile. So until they actually have something that actually works to fairly level the playing field against the bots, why not disable the captcha altogether to give the already disadvantaged human a fighting chance???

–Keith

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Please, please do a story on Ticketmaster (StubHub and Live Nation) and the scalping of event tickets. I believe it is a big deal in Canada and North America and likely around the world. After searching the internet there is very little information that comes up on the topic. I believe that there is just very little political priority to protect the citizens that embrace the arts and sports or maybe Ticketmaster is just too big to fight. It is also baffling that performers, agents and the supporters aren’t speaking out to stop this fraudulent, disgusting and immoral activity. The technology and processes exist to stop the scalping proliferation so why is nothing being done?

With Ticketmaster’s monopoly including ownership of StubHub, Live Nation and other ticket resale companies is not difficult to understand that the scalping practice it is in their interest for making super profit at the expense of the performers and the supporters.

It’s just plain wrong.

–Les

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No luck with the Tragically Hip ticket attempt this morning as I wasn’t prepared to pay for the platinum seats. It makes sense that people are upset, but the level of demand for tickets also adds up given Gord Downey’s health.

We were lucky to score Prince tickets in April — extremely fortunate in retrospect — but I think it’s safe to say that if people knew Prince had only a month left to live, tickets would’ve been a far bigger challenge.

Keep on doing what you’re doing.

–Mark

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Hi Alan,

I logged in at exactly 10am, was put in the capitaltickets.ca “virtual waiting room”, waiting an hour, the the screen was updated with “No inventory available”.

Regards,

–Adam

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I got nothing…   I had 3 computers running.  2 pointing to Hamilton show and 1 pointing to Kingston.   2 minutes in I was told that there was nothing available.   I continued to try till 10:15 and then said screw it.

–Dylan

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Greetings Mr. Cross,

The ticketmaster Winnipeg Tragically hip ticket buying experience went as follows.   10:00 came around and nothing was left.  No tickets available.  I have purchased tickets for everything from the first pixies reunion show circa 2004 to Prince to smashing pumpkins in 1996, a smaller stones show ….really, a lot of hot tickets that I would have presumed to be instant sell outs, and still gotten tickets.  I do not know the exact logistics of how these tickets for the tragically hip ended up so unavailable, but, it is sub-optimal, that is for sure.

Would loved to have seen these guys one last time, I guess it is just not in the cards.

A disappointed soul in Brandon, Manitoba

–Aaron

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Well, my wife was at her office, me at mine.

She with 4 other colleagues with windows open, all showing the same waiting in a cue page, at 9:30am.

Me, with 2 other colleagues all with the same waiting page, at 9:45am.

Never made it through.

At 10:15am, went on twitter to find out it was sold out.

Sent a twitter message to Justin Trudeau asking for the government to step in and put an ACTUAL END to scalping, not just for the Joe Schmo’s to stop it.

Started a #BoycottTicketMaster #BoycottStubHub on twitter at around 10:45am.

This is for the Ottawa show.

–Marty

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Hi Alan:

I was on my computer and the app 10 minutes before the tickets were *supposed* to be available. I get through at 10:00am and… nothing. Not a single ticket available… Someone either: really needs to look into this, or the public needs transparent information of how many tickets are actually available during a sale. I’ve been a fan for 10 years and have never seen them play. And I suppose I never will.

–Rachel

Hi Alan,

This morning I decided I would use the same strategy to buy Tragically Hip tickets as I did for Adele, which is to log into Ticketmaster well before 10am and let the timer count down while I went about my usual work day.  I logged in around 7:45am with the hopes of scoring tickets to the Toronto show on August 10th.

When there was a minute and a half left on the clock I stopped what I was doing so I was ready to purchase when that clock hit zero.  The page refreshed, loaded, I immediately selected 2 ticket and clicked Find Tickets.  At 10:02 I received the notification that tickets were no longer available.  I tried some other dates, which showed “NOT MANY LEFT” next to them, but no luck. 

I’m disappointed but not surprised, given what went on with the pre-sale. 

Cheers,

Andrea

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Kingston… fuggetabout it… at 10:00:05 I got nothing.. Twitter is lit up with people denied for the whole tour.

I think Ticketmaster has a very good system (ever tried Tickets.com?) but they need to do a much better job at bot defending, which is obviously a big part of the problem here. I think the band dropped the ball BIGTME here by not making the whole tour paperless (requiring credit card entry only). That seems to cut down scalping a lot. The band had to have known of the impending huge demand for these shows. Doesn’t help that anyone can be a scalper now too via Stubhub.

Sucks all the way around.

–Marcus

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Hey Alan,

Like most people, I didn’t do too well. I’ve now been in a virtual waiting room for 45 minutes. It looks like this –> https://screenshot.click/03-00-ivmfb-pkilq.jpg

According to twitter and other folks the tickets have actually been sold out since 10am and Ottawa’s site has been still placing people on hold. 

It’s disgusting to me that some scumbags out there are trying to make a profit off of this. I know for a fact there’s people who’ve built bots (programs or applications designed to purchase tickets for people as soon as they’re posted) that have scooped up all of these tickets. That’s leaving us lovers of the hip with empty hands when it comes to tickets.

Tickets were set to go on sale at 10am and I hopped in the virtual waiting room at 9:59 on the dot. on 3 computers! Didn’t get a shot.

I’m super upset mainly because I don’t want to go to scalpers or stubhub and pay inflated prices and make anyone profit off of this. I doubt those idiots even own a hip cd.

Anyways, I love your show brother! 

Much love,

Brendan

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Hi Alan,

I have to share my incredible luck story with you!  My sister and I tried many times on Monday to get presale tickets and like everyone else, found that the bots were apparently much bigger fans and faster clickers than the rest of us.  I was annoyed and upset (like all other fans) and totally felt that these scalpers were trying to make money on a very sad and tragic situation.

Tuesday morning rolls around, and after listening to you speak with Fred and Mel on the Edge about how the presale was going to be a repeat of Monday, I wasn’t feeling optimistic.  10am rolls around and I am in a meeting at work.  My sister texts me to say she is having no luck again for the new show date.  Out of pure curiosity and frankly a bit of desperation, I tried for the Friday night show again as I figured everyone else would be trying for Sunday.  To my shock and amazement, I got the screen telling me I had two minutes to confirm my purchase!  I had to run out of my meeting to grab my credit card, screaming and shaking the whole way, and did indeed purchase four tickets to the Friday night show!  After apologizing profusely for my unprofessionalism for screaming and abruptly leaving my work meeting, all was luckily forgiven!!  

Anyways, I am very, very lucky to get these tickets but share the opinion of the fans that something needs to be done as fans who want to celebrate the band and enjoy Gord Downie’s immense talent and joy of music, are now faced with having to pay exorbitant amounts of money for these tickets.  

Anyways, thank you for everything that you do.  Your shows and chats are such a joy to listen to!

Warm regards,

Sue

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Hey Alan

Thought i would share with you my frustration which is pretty much like everyone else in Canada.

Tried the presale on Monday with the Hip Code and no tickets as of 10:01

Tried the presale on Tuesday with the Amex Code and no ticket as of 10:01

So I thought i would get more frustrated today and try to get tickets to no avail on again at 10am on both my phone and laptop and NO TICKETS.

I really wish what Pearl Jam tried to do back in the 90’s was successful as the frustration to get tickets to pretty much any show from Pearl Jam to Tragically Hip to sporting events are all sold out unless you’re willing to pay through the nose at StubHub or other secondary sources.

Hope you’re having a good day and always love hearing your insight into the music industry.

Cheers from a very frustrated music fan in Newmarket

–Barry

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No Dice.  Three people trying from 10am until now and not one of us was able to get any.

–Michael

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No luck out here [in Victoria]. Logged onto Select Your Tickets(the local partner of Ticketmaster) to log in and was immediately kicked into a “waiting room”. Stayed there until 10:30 when the screen updated to say that all the tickets were gone.

I had 4 devices going here with another person helping and my brother had 3…. nothing for any of us.

The really weird thing is I got the sold out update 10 minutes before he did which seems really odd. It would be a lot more logical in terms of coding/programming for the screen to update for everyone at once. In fact I thought that was the only way it could happen. Very suspicious. I do have to wonder if my waiting room actually went anywhere. Did I mention I signed into my account last night, left the browser up and the site open and I was logged out this morning?

A story is now up on the Times Colonist(our major paper) where the arena president admits that tickets were sold out in under 30 seconds.

Over 3000, probably closer to 4000-4500 tickets gone in that span. Over 100 tickets a second being sold.

And I do not know a single person who got any.

The local radio station did a poll today and only ONE person said they were able to get tickets- they called the box office at 9:59 and bought them on the phone. They were presumably the only person who got tickets that way, and only the first person in line at the box office got tickets. By the time they ran his card it was a sell out.

Link to news story: http://www.timescolonist.com/many-fans-disappointed-as-tragically-hip-tickets-sell-out-in-minutes-1.2270361

So sold out in 30 seconds but it took them 20+ minutes to process the sales? Very odd…

It is time to break Ticketmaster. The technology now exists for any band to easily do their own ticketing for a very inexpensive price.

At the very least anti-monopoly rules should be instituted to force Ticketmaster to sell LiveNation and StubHub. MAJOR conflict of interest….

Do you remember how NIN did their 2008 tour presale? Off their website, credit card and vaild government ID required to pick up the tickets on the day of the show at the venue. Very effective and a lot of happy fans and the scalpers were out in the cold. Or just go back to the old days of first come first serve. Really want your tickets? Line up for them. Or IP verification so you can only buy tickets for shows in a reasonable distance from you. I suspect a lot of scalper bots were grabbing tickets for all the shows for the same scalpers. StubHub and digital delivery make it childs play for someone from PEI to buy and scalp tickets to a show in Vancouver….

Just my 25 cents….

Brian

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If you were lucky enough to get tickets, consider yourself blessed. And don’t even think of scalping them because you half the nation will only be too happen to hunt you down like the dog you are.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

5 thoughts on “All the Tragically Hip Tickets are Gone. The Only Thing to Do Now is Move On–Or Pay Up.

  • June 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm
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    In the waiting room on 3 devices at my house at 9:15. My brother on 2 at his house. Sat in a “queue” until 10:30 when I was informed that all tickets were unavailable. How many people were trying to buy tickets for Victoria? Hundreds of tix up almost instantly on Stubhub…

    Reply
  • June 3, 2016 at 3:29 pm
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    I wonder how The Hip would feel playing empty, sold out shows? As a nation of fans I hope we force the would be profiteers to EAT THOSE TICKETS!

    Reply
  • June 3, 2016 at 4:09 pm
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    OK, I read both articles. The first one, he just didn’t get it. The price of the ticket was not the issue. I think Hip fans would have gladly paid whatever the band chose to ask. And the fact that they chose to sell them at a price a little lower than usual had nothing to do with the fact that within seconds the tickets were gone. No matter what the price was, that would have happened.

    Which leads me to the second article. It’s disgusting, and Ticketmaster is turning a blind eye because they are making money. They don’t care who gets the tickets as long as they are sold. And why not let the bots get them so they are guaranteed to sell out, rather than take the chance on fickle fans? Ticketmaster certainly doesn’t care and has no intention to change anything.

    I keep seeing people ask why everyone is so upset since this happens all the time. It’s because in this case there is no chance to catch them “next time.” And secondly, it’s extremely poor taste to take advantage of this unusual situation where resellers know fans will likely pay exorbitant prices if they have no other choice, to get to see this band one final time.

    I don’t usually bother trying to buy tickets on Ticketmaster, but this time I had to. And I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get tickets. I really feel for those Hip fans who were not so lucky.

    It’s a disgrace that once again the almighty dollar rules. Something should be done. I’d be happy to go back to waiting in line overnight to make sure the tickets get into the hands of the real fans. Sounds like a good opportunity for someone to create a new sales model that really does block the bots.

    It makes me sad for the Hip that this controversy is surrounding their last tour. It sucks.

    Reply
  • June 3, 2016 at 6:56 pm
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    Break Ticketmaster. They are a total monopoly now. I guess concert tickets are not important enough to the government to warrant the effort. Anyone care to guess what would happen if there was a monopoly on cell phone service or electricity?

    It is 2016…. the technology exists for every band to handle their own ticketing for a few thousand dollars.

    Even back in 2008 Nine Inch Nails had their fan club/presale tickets locked to a specific person and credit card. They had to be picked up at the arena on the day of the show with valid ID. A very good way to stop the bots and the scalpers. This was through Ticketmaster so it is certainly feasible, although I imagine they likely would not allow it anymore, too bad for StubHub’s business.

    One disgusted Hip fan…. who might still break and buy a ticket for old times sake. But no more Ticketmaster shows for me from now on. There are enough good local bands and festivals that I will feel no grief over never giving them another cent.

    A report just came up on the Victoria Times Colonists site that tickets here were sold out in under 30 seconds…. so how come I do not know one single person here who got one?

    Over 3000 tickets in 30 seconds. Over 100 tickets being sold a second.

    The local radio station did a poll and the only person who called in to say they got some called the box office on the phone and get very lucky.

    I was in a waiting room 45 minutes before the show and the screen did not update until 10:30 when it said all tickets sold out. How many people were ahead of me… or did that room actually go anywhere?

    Reply
  • June 4, 2016 at 6:14 am
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    The Hip should have played Downsview Park instead of ACC. That would have given more fans a chance to see them. The demand was definitely there. They could have called it The Final Roadside Attraction. Playing ice arenas is really not the right venue for a tour like this.

    Reply

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