By Keith Sharp
To paraphrase the Soup Nazi on the Seinfeld’ television show, thousands of The Tragically Hip fans, denied tickets by Tuesday’s farcical Fan Club Pre-Sale event, tried again Friday when the official on-line sales were staged only to be met with identical results, Ticketmaster claiming all tickets sold out literally seconds after the 10 am. posting time.
Some patrons had multiple computers set up for all five Ontario venues (Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, London and Hamilton), yet across the board they were uniformly hit with the same notification – Sold Out?
Which begs the question; if all 10 venues (including Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg) were all sold out after Tuesday’s “Pre-Sale”, why even bother announcing there were tickets available for Friday when there clearly wasn’t any to be had!
Interestingly enough, go on the Ticketmaster website and you will find a slew of re-sale companies with all sorts of The Tragically Hip tickets available including three re-sale sites; Online City Tickets (Toronto Air Canada Centre), Online Ticket Sales (Hamilton First Ontario Centre) and Ticket Office Sales (Kingston) which operate out of the same building as the concert venues. How about that for a conflict of interest?
Add to this established re-sale outfits like Stub Hub, Vivid, Ticket Network and Ticket Liquidators (all posted on the Ticketmaster site) and it is clear that your typical fan had no hope of obtaining a ticket at the posted face value rates of $116 and $168.
There have been the usual cries of outrage by the three levels of government with the Attorney General threatening to delve into these scamming practices, but I am sure we’ve all heard these empty threats before.
It is encouraging that the CBC is examining the possibility of telecasting The Hip’s final concert August 20th from Kingston’s Rogers K-Rock Centre although it’s strange that Bell Media isn’t looking at this event considering company president Randy Lennox’s past association with the Hip as former president of Universal Music Canada, the band’s current record label.
With no statement coming from the band or their Management Company or Ticketmaster, explaining what happened to their on-sale procedure or how those re-sale companies got so many tickets so fast, I assume that all parties concerned are prepared to ride out the storm, stash those inflated ticket prices into their respective pockets and move on to the next `victim’.
Who loses out? Hard core Tragically Hip fans who will be denied an opportunity to say a fitting good bye to a band they have cherished for over 38 years. But in the world of concert ticket price gouging, their complaints will just be stifled underfoot.
By Keith Sharp