Parrot Head Party Pooper

Ticketing process for May 11 Jimmy Buffett concert leaves many Daniel Islanders frustrated

Last Friday morning was a tough one for Daniel Island’s “Parrot Head” community, an informal band of friends and followers of the pervasively popular musician Jimmy Buffett. They were gifted with the rare opportunity to see the mega-star perform right here in their hometown, when it was announced a few months back that Buffett had chosen to play at the Volvo Car Stadium on Daniel Island for his “I Don’t Know” Tour’s May 11 stop in Charleston.

When tickets eventually did go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, that gift didn’t entirely deliver, as third-party vendors (who often sell tickets to web-based ticketing agencies such as StubHub) and Parrot Heads from across the Carolinas and the country gobbled up the 6,000 tickets available in a mere 18 speed-dialing minutes. As of Monday, StubHub reported it had 345 tickets available for the show, ranging in price from $149.99 to $5498, well above typical show prices.

When hundreds of Daniel Islanders were unable to snatch up tickets of their own, they took to social media to vent over the weekend. But the fact that the concert sold out so fast was not what had them most frustrated. The focus of their ire was that there was no pre-sale ticket availability for Daniel Islanders.

But according to Bob Moran of the Meredith Corporation, the company that manages entertainment at the venue, the specifics of ticket distribution were out of their hands as soon as they contracted with Buffett for the show. With each concert that Moran and his team put on at Volvo Car Stadium, the availability of pre-sale tickets is an issue that comes up. And while Moran said he is usually successful negotiating pre-sale, with Buffett, a huge get for Meredith or any other event promoter quite literally in the world, it was non-negotiable.

“We brought that to the promoter, we said, ‘listen, this is something we want to do.’ They said ‘no, if you want Buffett this is how you’re going to do it,’ ” Moran told The Daniel Island News. “At almost every one of our shows, we’re going to get Daniel Island a pre-sale when we can. This was one where no pre-sale was allowed.”

Many on social media argued that because the City of Charleston owns Volvo Car Stadium they had rights as taxpayers to priority ticketing, however Meredith has no such binding agreement with the City mandating how they sell their tickets.

“It’s just something we want to do because we’re good partners,” said Moran. “We live on Daniel Island and we want to make sure Daniel Island has an opportunity.”

The Jimmy Buffett concert was an anomaly, added Moran, who stated the company would continue to offer pre-sale tickets to Daniel Islanders at future concerts every time they can.

“We work with the community well,” he said. “We live here, we care about it, and it hurts us when we see that stuff online because it’s no intention of ours. But people are upset, I get it.”

Q: How many tickets are actually available for concerts at the Volvo Car Stadium?

A: It varies. A normal release for an event at Volvo Car Stadium is 7,400 tickets. For each show, various “production holds” for tickets are negotiated with promoters and the artist, lessening the number of tickets available to the public. In the case of the May 11 Jimmy Buffett concert, Buffett himself, Live Nation, tour sponsors Landshark and Margaritaville Rum, and venue sponsors each have holds for seats. In addition, the national Buffett fan organization, the Official Parrot Head Club, also had holds, reducing the seats available to 6,000.

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