March 20, 2009

Ticketmaster Refunds Red Rocks Ticket Sales, StubHub Selling One Ticket for $35,000, Phish in Rolling Stone & Other News

By now just about everyone has heard about the ticket debacle regarding Ticketmaster's snafu that put four-day passes for Phish's Red Rocks shows (July 30th, 31st, August 1st and 2nd) up for sale on Wednesday, March 18th at about 5 p.m., according to Denver Post Reporter Ricardo Baca, a full eight days before the publicly announced on-sale date of March 26th.

Phish responded to the incident by posting this message on their website by mid-day Thursday. The Denver Daily News ran this story today (Friday, March 20th) about the incident, saying that Ticketmaster's Phish flub was due to "human error," noting that individual tickets never went on sale.

"Ticketmaster was testing its online ticketing system for the Red Rocks shows when someone hit the wrong button and brought the ticketing process live, according to sources close to the debacle," Denver Daily News Staff Writer Peter Marcus reports.

The Denver Post reports that 1,900 people were able to purchase Red Rocks tickets Wednesday night. Ticketbastard announced that everyone who purchased tickets will be refunded in full, receiving a $50 Ticketmaster gift card taboot. But not everyone appreciates the gesture, according to the story.

"To be honest, this ticket is worth, to me personally, much more than $50," Phish-head Aaron Pence said in the story. "I suppose some compensation is better than nothing … but whether it appeases the fact that I didn’t get tickets, no, no it doesn’t."

In a prepared statement, Ticketbastard North America President David Butler said, "We are sorry that we were not able to provide you with the tickets you ordered and hope that we will have the chance to serve you better in the future."

Meanwhile, Phish's official response said, "We are in active dialogue with Ticketmaster to push them to address the inconvenience their error has caused. We are putting pressure on the ticketing providers to improve their systems. We are focused on the ticket broker activity in our tickets and the inability of the existing ticket systems to stop this. We are actively seeking options to limit this."

(Sigh) A lot of people are venting their frustration on the Hidden Track blog.

The question has been raised: Did Ticketbastard do this on purpose in an attempt to allow scalpers to procure Phish tickets to the Late Summer Tour 2009 Red Rocks shows (the first time Phish has been back since "The Incident" that occurred in downtown Morrison, Colo. back in 1996 -- I was there) and re-sell them on Ticketbastard's own ticket broker (can you say scalper?) website (On a side note, if you capitalize the "S' instead of the "N" in TicketsNow it reads "TicketSnow.")

Even with all of the service fees Ticketbastard charges, the company announced this morning in its 2009 first quarter earnings report that it is suffering a $1 billion loss on accounting charges related to the current value of its stock, which recently traded near $4 compared to $15 in August 2008. The report also states that the proposed merger of Ticketbastard with is expected to receive approval from the U.S. Department of Justice by the second half of 2009 (sometime after June).

StubHub: One Red Rocks Ticket for $35,000 has Red Rocks tickets for sale, as well as tickets for all shows to Phish's 2009 Late Summer Tour. In one case StubHub is selling one ticket to the August 1st Red Rocks show for $35,000!


Incidentally, someone with the username "pilutico" claims to have four Red Rocks tickets for sale (two for July 30th and two for July 31st) on eBay with a starting bid of $700. So far there are zero bids.

Phish Featured in Current Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone put Phish on its cover -- not a cover photo but they printed a headline that says "Phish Reunite." And they have a killer slide show with tons of photos from the Hampton shows. They dedicated three pages inside the current issue of the magazine to Phish's reunion shows, posted detailed reports of night one and night two, and even supplied coverage of the parking lot scene. Nice to see the boys in the spotlight once again.

Little League Team Raises $6,000 Selling Phish Shirts

In other news, a Hampton Little League team -- the Peninsula Pilots -- that Phish allowed to circumvent a court order barring anyone from selling merchandise emblazoned with the band's name or logo, raised about $6,000 selling t-shirts, getting it halfway to its goal of $12,000. The team is raising the money for a planned trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, reports.

Team Manager Don Gear called Phish fans "very polite," saying people made donations. "They'd say, 'Keep the change.' Or they would say, 'I can't afford the t-shirt, but here's $3," the story said.

Hampton Letter to the Editor

Also at is a Letter to the Editor from Hampton Resident Tanya Smith thanking Phish and Phish fans for injecting a reported $8 million into the local economy March 6th - 8th. "The fans spent a lot of much-needed money in our area, and we should want to hear about them in the newspaper the whole three days they were here, and we should hope they come back soon," Smith wrote in the letter, calling herself "a fan of the Phish fans."

Smith's sentiment seems to be mirrored in U.S. newspapers. A Google News search for Phish revealed dozens of articles from publications across the country touting Phish's return to their region.

Hampton Drug Bust Claims Don't Add Up also ran a story refuting claims by Hampton Roads law enforcement officials that $1.2 million worth of drugs were confiscated at the Phish shows. The story also shows a photo released by police of what is supposed to be dozens of mason jars filled to the brim with weed. What makes the claim doubtable is that the mason jars appear to be still unwrapped and in their original plastic packaging.

Can you imagine anyone showing up in the lot with a van full of weed in mason jars? I've seen some idiotic moves by people selling dope in the lot, but never anything as brazen as that photo suggests. It's just not believable guys!

Mexican Cousin Mix

Love it or hate it (I happen to love it), Phish dusted off Mexican Cousin when they played at the Hampton Coliseum earlier this month. Already feeling nostalgic for the reunion shows, the Coventry Phish Blog "created a mix of every version of Mexican Cousin because it's always been a favorite of mine and because the Joker said it's his new favorite Phish song."

You can download the Mexican Cousin mix by clicking here.

They also posted this ridiculous animated video of Trey & Page discussing the Red Rocks ticket fiasco. Good stuff.

Trey & Page Discuss the Allman Bros. Band

Quick video interview of Trey & Page following their guest spot sitting in with the Allman Bros. Band at the Beacon Theatre.


Brooklyn hoping for Merriweather said...

I don't believe that 1.2 million dollar story. The funny thing is that they only took $65 grand? Yeah right! They're either lying about the cash(which would be much greater with that amount of drugs) or lying about the amount of drugs.

Trey and Page at ABB: sweet.

Anonymous said...

FYI, I contacted "Pilutico" from eBay, who claimed to have a "season ticket to Red Rocks," that enabled him get tickets early (and also to the Gorge). I told him I was going to contact eBay and have him banned for fraud. An hour later, he told me that his auction had ended because he had sold "his tickets" to a broker. As if. We need to come down hard on frauds like this. See 'em and report 'em. Glad you mentioned this guy by (user)name on your blog!

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