Where have all the Bravo! tickets gone?
For the first time in six years, Kenneth Stein won’t be attending the free Bravo! patriotic concert, “A Salute to Freedom,” on Independence Day at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail.
Why? He hasn’t got a seat – and he’s not the only one.
General admission, or lawn seating, tickets won’t be available until Friday morning at 9 a.m., but reserved seating tickets for the popular event became available Tuesday morning at boxes at both the amphitheater and Vilar Center in Beaver Creek. Some confusion as to exactly when they were available, coupled with the enormous popularity of the event, led to a speedy sell-out, however.
Those holding tickets might think the process worked well, but those without access to seats are less than thrilled.
Printed advertisements said tickets for reserved seats would be available at 11 a.m. at the Vilar Center and noon at Ford Amphitheater.
“I was going to leave at a quarter after 11, as it would be quite a journey,” said Stein, a resident of St. Augustine, Fla., and an Army veteran who comes to Vail for a two-month vacation every year. “I called and was told that the tickets were all gone. But at age 70, I need a chair. I just feel like the hell with it. … It used to be that you lined up early the day of the concert, you got in and you got seats.”
“There was a miscommunication internally, and some of our box office attendants told people by phone they’d be available at 9 a.m.,” said Cara Herron, marketing director for the Vail Valley Foundation. The amphitheater as a venue comes under the direction of the foundation, though it’s a Bravo! concert.
Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, said the problem was discovered late Monday afternoon.
“At the time the error was discovered, they felt that it was a small number of people who had the wrong information,” said Folz. “So the decision was made to open the box office for them at 9 a.m. But we don’t know how many people who received tickets then had been told to be there at 9 a.m.”
On Fridays, the amphitheater box office opens at 9 a.m., which might be the reason for the confusion. This is the first year tickets are required for the free concert. Of the 1,263 seats available, 280 were up for grabs at the Vilar Center, with 583 at the amphitheater. The remaining 400 are reserved for Bravo! and Vail Valley Foundation patrons and supporters. Another 1,500 people will get lawn seats. There are also 40 seats designated by the American Disabilities Act for people with wheelchairs and special needs.
One person was allowed to take a maximum of four tickets. What folks at the foundation didn’t count on was people who got their own tickets, and then had their kids or neighbors or friends getting even more.
“The reality is that the people who need to be in seats to enjoy the show were the very people we were trying to service,” said Herron. “We designed the ticket system as a way to alleviate the problem for people who had to stand in line all day in the sun to get in. We now recognize that some people took advantage of how that was set up.”
Because there was no fee involved, the lines went rather quickly.
For those holding tickets who are not in their seats by 3 p.m., others will be allowed to sit in their seats. The gates will open at 1 p.m.
The same concert, meanwhile, will be performed in Beaver Creek on Thursday. Also free, the the concert kicks off on the Village Green in Beaver Creek at 6 p.m. It is not a ticketed event.
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.