Brewers Association apologizes for continuing Great American Beer Festival ticketing snafus

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For the second year in a row, the Boulder-based Brewers Association and Ticketmaster have experienced significant problems with the sale of tickets for the Great American Beer Festival, which takes place October 10-12 this year.

Today's sale, which was only for registered members of the BA and the American Homebrewers Association sold out in less than thirty minutes (tickets for the general public go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m.). But many members complained that the system wouldn't let them in or rejected their member numbers when they tried to register.

See also:
- Great American Beer Festival tickets go on sale today and tomorrow
- Great American Beer Festival scalpers drive us to drink
- That was fast: #GABF tickets sell out in record 45 minutes

Hundreds vented their anger on the Facebook pages for the BA and the Great American Beer Festival, prompting the organization to release the following message:

Hi Everyone. We've been reading your posts and wish we could reply to them all individually--the level of interest here on Facebook is nearly as high as it is for the festival itself.

Your staff at the GABF, American Homebrewers Association and Brewers Association sincerely regret the problem with today's member pre-sale. Ticketmaster had a technical problem that unfortunately had a negative impact on many of our members. We are sorry. There do not seem to be any easy answers in the world of large-scale event ticketing. At this juncture, the GABF remains under contract with Ticketmaster through 2014. Going forward, all suggestions and options for ticketing solutions will be under review.

At the same time, there are more thirsty members and craft beer enthusiasts than there is capacity at the festival. We know it is disappointing for everyone who wants to go the festival but can't get tickets.

Thanks for your continued support of the GABF and the hundreds and hundreds of American brewers who make this event all that it is.

The BA capped the number of tickets that were sold today so that it could put the rest on sale to the general public beginning tomorrow at 10 a.m. Those tickets are expected to disappear within minutes, if not seconds.

All told, more than 49,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event.


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21 comments
Schittphaiç Magü
Schittphaiç Magü

There are a many other TRULY local beer events that do not necessitate paying a huge markup or having to hob-knob with out-of-state snobs. They would not call it the Great AMERICAN Beef Fest if it was meant to be "for the locals."

aubreywhitley
aubreywhitley

Same problem today with the public tickets. Looks like GABF has gotten too big. It's hard to see spending $80 (including Ticketbastard's fees) for sampling beer. Just take the money and go to Falling Rock Tap House.

enadell
enadell

My problem is with the technical glitch that prevented members, who followed the rules and logged in early, from having their member numbers accepted by ticketmaster.  The GABF's line saying, "We're sorry, there are more people who want to go than tickets" is unacceptable.  In my opinion, ticketmaster's glitch equals a material breach of the contract for services they agreed to provide.  As such, GABF should force them to make it right.  Make ticketmaster buy up all stubhub tickets and offer them at face value to BA and AHA members whose membership numbers were denied in those first 10-20 minutes.  Won't happen, but that is FAIR.

Janelle Veres
Janelle Veres

have you also considered that it may not just be the scalpers? there are tons of members and im guessing lots of them cant get to GABF.... nothing is keeping them from buying their limit of tickets and reselling them either. never going to be a perfect solution just like EVERY other major event ...

Janelle Veres
Janelle Veres

Knowing the ticketing issues that happen with almost every concert or sporting event ... (ie fakes/scalpers/presale issues) you have to expect issues will arise with an event that sells out 48,000 tickets a year. doing a sale at a box office or limiting them to certain sessions will create its own set of issues for people that cant be there "in person" or cant go a certain day. GABF isnt ment to be just for locals. Its great for our tourism in Denver too (ie money to the city and jobs for a lot of people)... unfortunately with technology there is never a perfect answer in the world of ticketing.

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Absolutely agree Monte. They need to set aside 25% (just a number without much thought) of the tickets and make them ONLY available at a box office and limit sales to 4 per person. At least give some local people a reasonable chance. Not that I have any urge to go and support this mess until they figure out a better solution but just a thought.

westonia
westonia

StubHub IS Ticketmaster, they own it. What didn't get flipped by scalpers, were Ticketmaster themselves, reselling their own tickets under fake accounts and making money off the event twice, and they'll do it again tomorrow, they've done it before. 

Monte Aaron
Monte Aaron

There are already thousands available via various scalp sites. BA and AHA memberships are small prices to pay for scalpers to make big profits by getting in early. Might as well get rid of the pre sale since it's just as full of scalpers. I don't see any solutions but once GABF's contract with Ticketmaster is done next year they need to dump them.

wewatta
wewatta

@aubreywhitley I do not really understand why the BA continues to bury its head in the sand and try to pretend that this event is still a small little gathering, like it used to be (even just 10 years ago).  

Either start running it professionally, or turn it over to another organization.  This middle ground is pissing off both breweries and attendees. 

 I also do not see why a rival festival doesn't rise up to meet the demand.  Yes, there are a ton of smaller ones around CO, but nothing like this.  So many people are dissatisfied, why has no other rival festival come up to give this one a run for its money?

seiferth
seiferth

@Janelle Veres if they were reselling them at face value I'd agree, but we are seeing a 100 to 150 percent markup. That's scalping.

seiferth
seiferth

@Stephan Reuchlein Ah yes even member only tickets. Perhaps the member only sessions not only have to have the ticket but the corresponding membership card as well. (and I'm pissed that I am one that got shut out of Saturday afternoon.)

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

@westonia   ticketmaster owns ticketsnow, not stubhub.  ebay owns stubhub.

Peter
Peter

@Fletcherneedsajob Sellers on StubHub don't need to have tickets in hand before posting. They just need to be sure they can deliver the tickets by a certain date. Lots are likely scalpers looking to cash in on early demand (read: overpayment) for tickets they plan on buying today.

Will_
Will_

@Fletcherneedsajob The BA and AHA should find out who posted those and revoke their memberships immediately.

ecurmudgeon
ecurmudgeon

@Fletcherneedsajob And this is what I don't get - Rather than selling tickets at an obviously undervalued fixed price, they should move to an online auction model instead.

This way, they make the money, rather than the secondary market...

Fletcherneedsajob
Fletcherneedsajob topcommenter

@Will_ It makes sense, $ wise, to buy an annual HBA membership for $38, buy your ticket from TicketMaster, then resell them at a 150% mark up. Some people are smart, some are opportunistic, and others are pricks. Put them all together and you get scalpers. 

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