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Bethel Woods: What were you thinking?

May 31, 2011

Today I had the pleasure of standing in the rain on line with about 200 other locals in order to buy tickets for the Elton John concert at Bethel Woods. I went directly to the box office, because sadly, the Bethel Woods website was not working, probably sagging under crushing demand.

I was number 294 on line. I know this because I received that number from the box office. What I did not receive was tickets, due to near instantaneous sellout. To the management of the facility, I ask: with the expected surge in demand associated with a highly appealing star, why would you have a single person operating three different windows on opening day? Why would you not set aside enough tickets at your box office to accommodate the locals interesting in enjoying the concert? Why is it that a person who is number 294 in line can’t get a lawn ticket for a venue that seats many, many thousands? Just who is getting these thousands of tickets? How is it that there is already plenty of availability in the secondary online ticket market with a three- and four-fold markup? Methinks large blocks of tickets must have been released to these scalpers without any consideration for us poor locals.

And finally, why were the folks working the box office not given good information, which resulted in a highly inflamed crowd, and the need to bring in New York State troopers, Sullivan County sheriffs and Bethel police to ward off a riot? Shameful, really. Just shameful.

Tom Cambridge
Cochecton, NY