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The state of ticket-buying is in flux as bots and third-party sellers enrage music fans

John Wenzel
The Denver Post
Taylor Swift performs during the opener of her Eras tour Friday, March 17, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Swift, who plays Denver’s Empower Field on July 15, went head-to-head with Ticketmaster last year after a presale debacle that enraged fans.
Ashley Landis/AP Photo

Scoring tickets to concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is harder than ever, music fans have complained. And a statement fired off last week by ticket-seller AXS — which peddles the majority of tickets to Red Rocks shows — did not chip away at that perception.

“We’re trying to prevent rampant scalping and rampant re-selling and get these tickets into people’s hands,” said Don Strasburg, co-president and senior talent buyer at Denver-based promoter AEG Presents Rocky Mountains, whose parent company Anschutz Entertainment Group also owns AXS. “But what happened with the Skrillex show is relatively rare.”

Last week, AXS took the unusual step of “sweeping” tickets for the April 29 Red Rocks concert from dubstep artist Skrillex due to what officials said was fraudulent activity. That meant recovering passes that had already been sold, then re-selling them through the company’s lottery system.



“What Zach Bryan did at Red Rocks is a really good example of (lotteries),” Strasburg said. “He used FAIR AXS right out of the gate, and went one step further by delaying transfer of the tickets until the day of the show.” Bryan, a rising alt-country star, is one of the hottest tickets in the country right now. He will play Red Rocks on June 26.

Prices, and frustrations, are at an all-time high right now as music fans and artists decry a broken system in the wake of face-planting failures by ticketing companies.

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