Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coachella: The Cry of the Ticketless

by Bailey Pennick
Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 3:39 PM

After two months of agonizing speculation, during which dream lineups and fake posters proliferated on Coachella message boards, personal blogs, and even major city publications, the three-day SoCal music festival’s final line up was announced and tickets went on sale a couple weeks ago. Since then, the mammoth festival has only come under more scrutiny, as its ticketing policies have left a lot of loyal fans angry and essentially revealed themselves to be a massive nightmare.

Less than a week after tickets went on sale, the three-day music Mecca event was completely sold out. Shows sell out all the time within a week — even within a day — but this is different: this is over 60,000 tickets gone.
With the ticketing restrictions having changed this year — so festival-goers can no longer buy one- day passes and instead were forced to go with much more binding three-day wristbands — the usual demographic of Coachella “lifers” (people who pride themselves on attending the festival every single year) weren’t worried about the ticket change, but many were utterly shocked when January 26th rolled around and their yearly event was out of their grasp. Aside from the fact that GoldenVoice had sold tons of tickets and made a huge profit, the festival organizers’ blunt response to the sell-out added insult to injury for those who had just found themselves on the wrong end of the age- old saying “snooze you lose." While the festival’s web page solemnly stated “Festival passes are no longer available” in a quite bold font, their companion Twitter account (@coachella) added some sass to their official response: “no, we don't have any passes left to release, kthxbye."

“Kthxbye” wasn't the end of it for would-be concert-goers, though, and it definitely wasn’t acceptable for the thousands of panicked fans that took to the message boards and the third party websites that were allowed to purchase tickets this year. While some members of the Coachella cyber family cried their eyes out hoping that a miracle would bring them more passes, others flaunted their smart planning and receipt of purchase. Either way, the “Tickets” message board thread has been on fire with activity, ranging from pleas to scams. Within the last week Craigslist and EBay have both been flooded with GA passes, car camping passes, and even the occasional VIP ticket sold at ludicrously high prices with most having over 20 bids each.

It's become incredibly clear that this is not going to be your regular Coachella. With tickets that typically run for $320 (plus taxes and fees) are starting at $700 on the reliable Stubhub.com, and being exchanged for unprintable actions on Craigslist.org, the crowd that arrives to the hot Indio desert on April 15th will be a mix of the lucky, the rich, and the diehard. Hopefully as the wristbands get sent out all over the world in March, ticket prices will be lowered for the young music lovers, but this immediate outcome of this outrageous ordeal proves not likely.

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