How I spent my evening <Highline Ballroom>

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Fred
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How I spent my evening <Highline Ballroom>

Postby Fred » Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:02 am

Sample of this evening's stuff instead of getting work done:

"Dear Highline management,
"Last night I received an email announcement of an opportunity to upgrade my previously purchased "gold circle" tickets to Vienna Teng's October 4, 2013 show to "VIP." Since I want the best available seating for the show (and thought I had already purchased that - the "gold circle" was the highest level available at the time), I wanted to do that. However, the link you provided to TicketWeb did not have any provision for upgrading, and your box office has never heard of it, so there seems to be no way to do it. This leaves me with the choice of accepting inferior seats (bought at a premium!) or throwing them away and buying new VIP ones. You should be able to do better than this.
"Yours..."

That pretty much summarizes the event, leaving out sundry other e-mails, phone calls to the box office, PMs to Amy, etc. I eventually got a reply to an e-mail telling me to contact the box office (again) in the morning. How much do you want to bet the person I get is as clueless as the last two?
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

Michele
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Re: How I spent my evening <Highline Ballroom>

Postby Michele » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:14 pm

That sucks. I'm worried that type of thing is going to happen at other venues, too, but since they specifically sent out a message saying you could upgrade, they should've had it in place already. I'm sure they'll get it straightened out, but I'm sorry to hear of the extra time and stress it's taking up.

cmooreNC
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Re: How I spent my evening <Highline Ballroom>

Postby cmooreNC » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:18 am

That sucks. And it is more and more often becoming the way of "this business" these days. There are often so many "presales" for concerts and seating at a multitude of price levels, such that is difficult to determine which tickets are the "best" to buy when you make your purchase and then something even better turns up later! Bleh! :(

One nice thing about the Charlotte show is that all the seating is reserved and priced at the same $15 amount (although I must admit they are then "plus the usual facility fee and service charges," but at least those are small) and everything is selling from the stage back (with the exception of just a few small venue and act holds, of course). So at least we're not looking at different price levels, or VIP tickets, or "meet and greet tickets" (although I'm sure Vienna will do her usual "greet folks at the merch table after the show") or whatever else.

Do tell us how it eventually turns out, Fred.
Chris

Fred
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Re: How I spent my evening <Highline Ballroom>

Postby Fred » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:08 pm

Michele and Chris,

The phone call the next day went better than I had feared. I talked directly to the head of the box office, and he told me to first buy VIP tickets and then contact him personally to get TicketWeb to refund the Gold Circle tickets. I will share his name and contact info by PM with anybody who has a similar problem; however, that info was also in an e-mail from him that day, presumably to everybody with a ticket. So it appears the issue is resolved - appears pending receipt of the new tickets and successful refund if I decide to.

I'll take credit for prodding Highline to get their act together for anybody else who needed it. I had also contacted Amy, so she might have also played a role; I don't know. While waiting for the VIP tickets I'm also going to look around for takers for my old tickets at face price or even a little discount, just in case I can make a couple more new fans. I've already got a fair number of friends who have never seen Vienna who will be coming. My friend-recruiting is shameless - "it's for my birthday," which is 3 days after Vienna's.

Of course I'd like my friends to sit with me if possible, and I have no clue where the seating for regular, Gold Circle, and VIP are. Highline is clear as mud about that - they have no numbered reserved seats or tables, and the existence of "sections" is purely arbitrary and unknown in advance. I don't even really know if I just bought better seating, or the same seating plus a meet and greet. However, being assured of best seating is the point, and this is the best I can do at that. They could stand to take a lesson from Joe's Pub and City Winery, and sell actual seats and tables on a map.

One last note relating to what Chris said. I agree that buying the best tickets in the house, and then finding out that there are better seats for sale later, creates negative feelings even if you are allowed to upgrade without penalty, as appears to be the case here. It makes one feel exploited, which concertgoers do, often, by all the fees and other shenanigans of venues and ticket-vendors. You could never convince me that Vienna and her management had a conference call one day and said "gee, advance sales look pretty good at Highline; let's jack up the price for the best seats," but that's only because I know Vienna. Somebody else could think that. I think it's far more likely that they just didn't have the idea for VIP meet & greets until later. It's a new thing for her. I can remember she did that for the live CD recording shows, but don't recall her doing it for regular tour shows in the past.

Fred
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

Fred
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Re: How I spent my evening <Highline Ballroom>

Postby Fred » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:26 am

Chris,

A little more about Highline that really speaks to the issues you raised. Probably the main reason they don't sell numbered seats is that they have a group sales plan where parties of 10 or more can get a reserved table with open bar and/or snacks and/or dinner, at astronomical prices, for some shows. As usual for a General Admission (or GA by section) venue, you get the best seats by paying top price and *then* lining up hours before doors, but even when you do that, at shows where there are group sales, when you get seated you see tables you can't get. That was the case for Vienna's last time there. These are Highline's truly favored customers, and they wouldn't want to deprive any of them of their choice of table, no matter how late they purchase, because some early bird had purchased a reserved seat. It's not *quite* the NYC dance club scene, with bottle service complete with sparklers for hundreds of dollars each, but it's in that direction. Doesn't have much to do with music; more like a party. Of course one never knows how the venue and the artist divvy the various revenue streams, and that varies tremendously from place to place, but I'd be surprised if the artist saw any of this one. There are a bunch of reasons City Winery has become NYC's hot big-ticket venue, eclipsing Highline among others, but surely one of them must be fully transparent reserved seating. (Another is *far* better food.) Still, there's nothing wrong with sound at Highline if you don't sit in front of the stacks, or sightlines if you don't sit in the side sections, so getting there at 4pm for 6pm doors will pretty much guarantee you a decent seat at any price. It's just, who likes playing the "music industry game" to see a show?

Fred
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

cmooreNC
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:59 pm
Location: Hermitage, TN

Re: How I spent my evening <Highline Ballroom>

Postby cmooreNC » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:13 pm

Fred, I am an occasional concert promoter so I know a bit about the business. Which is one of the reasons I am "involved" with Vienna's date in Charlotte. I totally agree with you that neither she nor her management (or booking agent) have anything to do with decisions regarding ticket pricing or changes in ticket pricing like you're experiencing here. Although her booking agent may be involved in approving them as they come up, as ticket prices are usually a part of the contract. Of course there are also approvals given for anything like "meet and greets" that are part of a ticket purchase, as that obligates the artist to participate in some manner.

An artist like Vienna is probably just receiving a flat performance fee, however, so she (or her management) is definitely NOT the one setting ticket prices. She is probably also permitted to keep all merch sales proceeds, per the contract, although some venues do get a % cut of those, too, as that is usually something that comes up in the contract negotiations.

This business is never as lucrative as the general public might think, until you get up into the 2,000+ seat venues. Even then there are always financial risks involved, especially for the promoter.

I'm glad you were able to get your tickets worked out as you wish, although it's a bit of a nightmare to not know exactly where you'll be sitting, I'm sure. I just bought tickets for an Amy Grant concert in Asheville in November and it appears it's a new promoter doing the show on a college campus, as it's been set up as "general admission." That's got to be killing ticket sales, as I can't remember the last time she did an indoor concert in that format. I even bought "VIP" seating and those, too, appear to be general admission as there are no seat numbers shown on the tickets (which I've already received in the mail). I think the whole "uncertainty" factor is my biggest concern. It's just very unprofessional and leads me to wonder if the event itself will be poorly handled come show day.
Chris


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