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Dylan To The Rescue?

02:01 PM Thursday 8/19/10 | |

With all of the discussion on how to navigate scalping, fees and other ticketing issues, leave it to a music veteran to not only provide an answer but to implement it.

When Bob Dylan plays in San Francisco Aug. 25, it may be nothing more than a novel event – or it could be a model that could establish a healthy precedent for the industry.

  • Bob Dylan

    Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Ill.
    October 31, 2009

    (Bobby Talamine / SkipTheDial.com)


Dylan will implement a system when he plays the 2,250-capacity Warfield, one that will likely remove much of the ugliness of ticketing. It will:

1) Eliminate, or severely reduce, scalping and the influence of the secondary market.
2) Eliminate credit card fees.
3) Eliminate surcharges.

How will he do this? Will it be with laser scanners and paperless ticketing? By requiring patrons to provide ID upon entering the building? By placing UPC codes on their foreheads?

No. Dylan is going back to the Stone Age. All tickets will be general admission and will be available at the Warfield box office day of show. There will be no advance tickets available anywhere. Admission is $60 cash. No credit cards or checks will be accepted. Ticketholders will enter the venue at the time of purchase, one ticket per customer. Lineups begin no earlier than noon. Box office and doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show.

“Given the state of touring and how fees have escalated, it was a real breath of fresh air to do something very consumer oriented by eliminating all ticketing charges,” Goldenvoice SF’s David Lefkowitz said in a statement. “It’s almost a throwback to another time.”

Of course, this could be a logistical nightmare, and security will need to be diligent considering the amount of cash on hand. But if things go smoothly, there is a strong possibility patrons will be happy with this system – at least happy enough to not complain about it online the next morning.

Goldenvoice could not comment further on the show. The promotion company said this show is the brainchild of “Bob’s people” and, at press time, Pollstar was not able to get comment from taciturn manager Jeff Kramer, and Dylan’s agent at CAA declined to comment.

  • Bob Dylan

    Marcus Amphitheater, Milwaukee, Wis.
    July 1, 2009

    (Bobby Talamine)


However, at least one source told Pollstar that, yes, much like when the Eagles experimented with price points at Arco Arena in Sacramento, this is very much an event that “people will be looking at.”


  1. Citizen Jeff wrote:

    10:50 PM, Aug 27, 2010

    GrahamBanks: "Roger Waters is executing ID and credit card verifications at the venue, no advance ticket printing, admission for original purchaser only...and still there are lots of good seats being scalped online and through brokers."

    How do those who buy scalped tickets overcome the requirement to show ID at the venue?

  2. Anonymous wrote:

    02:18 PM, Aug 27, 2010

    I am not going to fly from Canada, book hotels, rental cars and flights without guaranteed knowledge that I have a reserved seat so this concert had to be avoided by me. I can't line up for 6 to 12 hours like many do to get a decent spot on the floor.

    I need to sit down in a proper seat so this arrangement favors the young and well person.

  3. GrahamBanks wrote:

    09:24 AM, Aug 24, 2010

    This shouldn't be viewed as an effort to alleviate people standing in line all day.  Tons of Dylan shows are General Admission, so even if you buy your tickets 3 months in advance, you still stand in line to get a seat.

    It will cut scalping down.  However live scalping outside the venues has almost disappeared in the age of Ebay.  Most tickets that enter the secondary market don't come from individuals with an extra seat, they come from blocks purchased or given directly to brokers, promoters, VIPs etc.  So unless EVERY seat is being sold for cash the night of the concert, scalping will still go on.

    Roger Waters is executing ID and credit card verifications at the venue, no advance ticket printing, admission for original purchaser only...and still there are lots of good seats being scalped online and through brokers.  It appears that efforts to restrict scalping are targeted at the individual, and not the source of the majority of secondary tickets.

    I applaud Dylan for the true victory here, and that is circumventing TicketBastard and the like.

  4. Citizen Jeff wrote:

    01:00 PM, Aug 21, 2010

    What is this, an Olympic endurance test? I can't believe people are thrilled about devoting an entire day to seeing a concert at night. Who's going to feel refreshed and relaxed after enduring this process?

    Why not do what Springsteen does? Hold back tickets, release them gradually at unpredictable times and require some percentage of ticket holders to show ID at the door and enter immediately (thus making it impossible to resell the tickets). Some similar combination of those practices.

    Or require everybody to show ID. Would that be a greater crowd-control burden than handling GA sales all in one day?

    Credit card fees can be avoided by using a debit card. (I realize it's not so easy to avoid Ticketmaster fees, though.)

    By the way, I find it hard to believe that scalping is really much of a problem at Dylan concerts nowadays, especially the general admission shows.

  5. frankwheeler wrote:

    09:10 AM, Aug 20, 2010

    Good *** job, Robert.

  6. DeltaSigChi4 wrote:

    03:36 PM, Aug 19, 2010

    I go to a lot of shows. I've done paperless. I've done partial paperless (how this makes ANY sense is beyond me, personally). And this is it. This is the goddamn model every artist who CLAIMS they are for removing the touting/scalping/bullshit from their shows should do. Arcade Fire: take note. The fiasco with your Big Sur date could have easily been eliminated by simply implementing this idea. Currently there are tickets for 1,000$ a pop on the bay for that BS date; brilliant. You really took the touting out of your shows. ::rolleyes::


  7. Studebaker Hawk wrote:

    02:36 PM, Aug 19, 2010

    an example of how big names can fight the industry if they choose.Groups like The Clash back in the day used to fight for their fans constantly.The Clash put out back to back 2-lp sets they insisted be sold at a single lp price which kept them in serious debt and at odds with CBS.

  8. fiftyhz wrote:

    02:31 PM, Aug 19, 2010

    So the question is:

    Is it worth $20 to stand in line for 6 hours and not be guaranteed a ticket?

Artists Mentioned in this article