Mme Naberius and I have long wanted to see a broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion (I drive a Volvo too!) and since we now live near
, where they traditionally do a show each year, we decided now was the time. We know it's a popular show and figured tickets would go fast. But, despite checking to see when tickets would go on sale, and jumping in literally the moment they became available, we could still only get seats way the hell back in the back of the Filene Center, practically out on the lawn. What gives?
Our strategy was pretty simple: figure out when tickets went on sale (last Saturday at 10:00 a.m.) and hit the web site the instant they opened it up. So within like 5 seconds of tickets going on sale, I clicked buy and was told that there were no tickets available in the Prime Orchestra or Orchestra sections. The only thing I could get was row LL in rear orchestra. This is pretty much literally as far back as you can get at the Filene Center and still have a roof over your head
. Seriously? They sold the entire show out in 6 seconds? I don't think so.
I went back to the site several hours later to see what was going on, and they still had seats available only about two rows behind us. I also discovered, while rooting around waiting for the buy tickets link to go live, that had I been willing to pay $200 a seat, I could have gotten Prime Orchestra seats on Stub Hub before tickets were actually on sale to the general public
. My conclusion is that pretty much everybody who wanted tickets to this show already had them before they were officially on sale.
So okay, I know the ticketing business is a horrible, predatory, rip-off scheme, but I don't really go to big venues very often and haven't figured out the ins and outs for myself. And I have to say, this has left me with a pretty sour taste in my mouth and not much inclination to go back to Wolf Trap or anywhere else. Is this just how it is? Was our strategy of showing up when the box office opened and expecting to get great seats just hopelessly naive?
Is there something different about Wolf Trap, like the whole damn place is locked up by season ticket holders?
Or is there perhaps something special about A Prairie Home Companion, like public radio has all the tickets so they can distribute them to donors and VIPs?
Basically, what was going on, and was there something we could have done differently to get better seats?