Concert promoters contemplate change in ticket sales

**5/14/14: This story has been updated to reflect new ticketing procedures.**

One of Hawaii’s premiere concert promoters is working on a plan to ensure local fans get their tickets first.

It all started when nearly half of the tickets sold for last month’s Bruno Mars shows at the Blaisdell Arena were purchased by people out of state.

Then, just last weekend, ticket sales to Jack Johnson’s August concert at Waikiki Shell quickly sold out despite attempts to open sales to Hawaii residents first. Some waiting in line were forced to walk away empty-handed.

A second show was scheduled and the promoter is changing the rules when tickets go on sale this Saturday, May 17.

Tickets will first be made available at 9 a.m. at the Blaisdell Box Office for Hawaii residents only. Then, at 10 a.m., sales begin online and over the phone, again for Hawaii residents only. Credit cards will need to have a Hawaii billing zip code. If tickets remain, they will be made available with no geographic limitations the following day, May 18, at 10 a.m.

There is a limit of four tickets per person. Reserved seating will cost $64.50 per person plus applicable fees, general admission will cost $39.50 per person plus applicable fees.

The reserved seating areas will use a paperless ticketing system. Concert goers will need to show a photo ID and the credit card used to purchase the tickets at the venue. Lawn seating will have a normal ticketing setup.

Organizers hope this will, for the most part, eliminate the problem of scalpers, who often scoop up bundles of tickets before the general public has a chance to buy them.

Long-time concert promoter Tom Moffatt supports the idea. He is not involved with Johnson’s concerts, but has brought many other big names to town.

“The big problem is mainland scalpers,” he said. “There have always been scalpers and there always will be, but our feeling is we eliminate that problem by making tickets available to anybody in Hawaii, or anybody, but they have to pick up the tickets themselves.”

Moffatt said the rule wouldn’t stop someone from buying multiple tickets, but that person would have to show up and pick them up.

“And if they show up at the box office, and there’s some way they manipulated that many, there would be a problem,” Moffatt added, “because most shows are limited to six to eight tickets. But these (scalpers) get on with computers and cohorts and they raid the marketplace.”

The city’s enterprise service division, which is in charge of the Blaisdell and Waikiki Shell, declined an on-camera interview.

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