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Elton John sells out, locals left standing on line

By Fritz Mayer
May 25, 2011

According to a press release from Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Elton John sold out his September 3 concert here in record time. All 15,000 tickets were sold in 53 minutes to what the organization calls “the most anticipated concert event of the year at the Sullivan County Catskill’s venue.”

“We thank the many Elton John fans, our members, donors and the wonderful community here in Sullivan County for their support. We are thrilled that so many people will come to see Elton’s premiere concert at Bethel Woods,” said Darlene Fedun, chief operating officer. Fedun added, “Forty-two years ago, history was made on our site and today we set another record with Elton John.”

But a group of local residents, perhaps about 150, who went to the center and stood on line for a couple of hours in the rain when tickets went on sale on May 23, were disappointed that they were not able to purchase tickets. In fact, officers from the New York State Police and Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office were summoned to the site because some of the would-be concert-goers had become irate.

Asked for a comment, Matt McNeil, Bethel Woods director of marketing, wrote in an email, “Elton John is the most anticipated artist to ever play Bethel Woods and the demand for tickets was overwhelming. Starting at 10 a.m. on May 23, the vast majority of tickets were available to the general public and they all sold out in less than one hour. Thousands of fans were purchasing simultaneously from the internet, box office and phones that resulted in a record breaking 15,000-seat sellout. The box office accommodated a few hundred fans before the entire concert sold out at 10:53 a.m.”