The Hip in Peterborough: A ticketing nightmare PART 2

Ticket fiasco could lead to changes Upset fans feeling tragically ripped off

Local News – Tuesday, October 31, 2006 @ 09:00

Pre-selling more than half the Tragically Hip concert tickets before opening sales to the general public is being called “a rip-off,” “a fiasco,” “ridiculous” and “tragic indeed.”

“I think if this type of thing happened anywhere else, there’d be a riot,” said Television Road resident Debbie Lawler.

Lawler’s husband, Gary, worked a midnight shift at GM and then got up early to stand in line for three hours before being told the Jan. 29 concert at the Memorial Centre was sold out.

The Examiner has been inundated with e-mails and phone calls since Saturday’s story stating the Memorial Centre pre-sold 2,200 of 3,500 tickets to Hip fan club members (the club is free to join), Peterborough Petes club seat ticket holders and during a Wolf 101 radio station promotional event before opening sales to the general public Friday morning.

The remaining 1,300 tickets left for sale were sold out within two hours.

Debbie Haigh said she doesn’t understand why 700 tickets were pre-sold to Petes club seat ticket holders – a comment made by virtually every reader who contacted The Examiner about this story. “This concert has nothing to do with hockey,” said the 53-year-old Fairmount Boulevard resident whose 20-year-old daughter also didn’t get tickets after a three-hour wait. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Dave Duggan, of Rideau Crescent, agrees.

“For the life of me, I cannot understand why they should get first dibs on anything except sporting events,” he said.

Ken Doherty, city community services director, defended the policy. Doherty, who spoke on behalf of Memorial Centre interim manager Harold Sheldon who wasn’t available, said club seat ticket holders are regular clients.

Adding the perk that they get advance sales of all events at the Lansdowne Street arena helps the Memorial Centre sell those tickets, he said.

“And it’s our job to sell those tickets,” Doherty said.

The policy has been in place since renovations were completed in 2003 because the Memorial Centre didn’t have club seats prior to that, he explained.

This is the first he has heard anyone complain about it, he said.

Doherty said the city will consider Stoney Lake resident Dennis Jenkin’s suggestion the Memorial Centre advertise how many tickets will be available to the general public so people can gauge whether it’s worth their time to stand in line.

The city will also consider Debbie Lawler’s suggestion to have two concerts when there’s such a high demand, he said.

“We’ll take that into consideration,” Doherty said. “This is a learning experience for us.”