Ticket justice

Ticket justice

Uncouth ticket resellers beware – Telluride Bluegrass is on to you. This year, the uber popular music festival launched a new ticket-buying system after thousands of buyers were shut out last year by ne’r-do-well bots and scammers.

According to a story in the Colorado Sun, last year, ticket sales were a veritable feeding frenzy, with the festival selling out in less than three hours. It was the 50th anniversary, so organizers expected high demand, but scrolling through social media later that day, they found a more insidious reason: ticket scalping (their word – we’re not sure if we should be using that word anymore.)

“They have systems. They have bots and things set up that’ll just go on attack during a sale. They have so much force that they’re getting in before people that are actually like waiting in line with their one computer,” Grace Barrett, director of communication and partnerships for Planet Bluegrass, told the Sun.

So, Planet Bluegrass got crafty. This year, they required would-be ticket buyers to pre-register in November. After pre-registration, Planet Bluegrass, teamed up with its online ticket software company, See Tickets, to use “Excel wizardry” to weed out suspicious registrants. Red flags included multiple email addresses leading back to one mailing address, multiple credit cards for one email address and computers with hidden IP addresses. 

“It’s a pain-in-the-butt, but it makes my whole year go so much better,” Planet Bluegrass’ Geoff Wickersham explained. “So it’s worth it.”

During the screening, about 150 accounts were identified as fraudulent or suspicious. If an account was flagged in error – a typo in the email address, a misunderstanding about the rules – the festival team helped to get it fixed.

The approach seemed to work. Tickets for the Bluegrass Festival went on sale Dec. 7, and anyone who made it through the screening process got a code to enter the main ticketing queue (which is sort of like a virtual version of the morning tarp queue at the actual festival.) Last year, without pre-registration, there were 12,000 people waiting to scoop up tickets on the first day, which is the festival’s maximum capacity. This year, there were less than 6,000 people queued up with sweaty fingers on the “pay now” button.

Telluride Bluegrass has since opened tickets sales up to the general public for the 2024 festival, which takes place June 20-24.To see the line up check out Planet Bluegrass on FB. Get more info or to buy tickets at: bluegrass.com/telluride.

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