Demand for Turnpike Troubadours Tickets Crashes Multiple Sites

Friday, January 14th marked the third opportunity for fans of the Turnpike Troubadours to score tickets to one of their reunions shows after a nearly 3-year hiatus. And though many got lucky, for many others, it was three strikes and you’re out.

And despite the protestations of many online, no, it isn’t a conspiracy theory keeping you from tickets. And even though scalpers and bots are certainly playing a role in the situation, in a nutshell, it continues to be an issue of demand outpacing supply, dashing the dreams of some Turnpike fans to see one of their first shows back, and the fact that the Turnpike Troubadours might be bigger than any of us are contemplating at the moment.

On Friday morning at 10 a.m. Central, Turnpike Troubadours fans trying to score tickets to their first show back at their old stomping ground of Cain’s Ballroom on April 8th and 9th didn’t face any significant competition from scalpers. In this instance, it would be impossible for bots and resellers to be involved—or if they were, it was at their own peril, because the venue and the ticket seller eTix stated expressly there would be no name changes allowed on purchases, making resell tickets impossible.

So how did things fare? Demand was still so high, it crashed the entire eTix system for about the first 15-20 minutes of the sale, with fans being served error and bad gateway messages as they feverishly refreshed trying to get back in. Even when the system did come back online at about 10:20, it was still moving very slow, with some users complaining they even had tickets in their carts, but the purchase couldn’t or didn’t go through, and they were forced to refresh only to find all available tickets gone.

As for the shows at Billy Bob’s Texas in Ft. Worth for April 22nd and 23rd, the ticketing service AXS was used, which was the same company that drew the ire of many Turnpike fans trying to purchase tickets to their Red Rocks shows in Colorado on May 14th and 15th. Along with tickets being announced as “sold out” in less than a minute (yet resell tickets were immediately available for exorbitant markups), the website of Billy Bob’s went completely offline due to their server being crashed. They finally got the website back online at about 11:04—over an hour after the ticket sale started.

“I have been at Billy Bob’s for five years. This is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, “ Terran Flusche of Billy Bob’s tells Saving Country Music. “I’m looking at our Google Analytics, and our traffic was up so much, we’re looking into getting a bigger server. We upgraded our server when the Miranda Lambert tickets and other big shows went on sale lat year. But now we’re gonna have to upgrade one more time, because this was huge.”

Flusche continues, “Our website alone had a 500 percent traffic increase compared to our normal on sale traffic. So that sent our website into overdrive. And the AXS, we’re getting reports of tens of thousands of fans logged on to the ticket link sites themselves to buy tickets. It was just a huge demand for tickets. Turnpike has a lot of fans that are ready to see them get back out on the road. And unfortunately, we only have a certain number of tickets that we can sell.”

Billy Bob’s also says they do make an effort to mitigate resellers, including cancelling purchases on the back end, though they can’t control every reseller.

“Our ticket office manager, she goes back on the back end, and if it’s a known scalper account, she will block them from being able to buy tickets,” says Terran Flusche. “A lot of the time people think it’s bots, but it really just is a high demand for tickets. And yes, there are some that do buy tickets just to resell them, and we hate that more than anyone. We hate the resell market more than anybody. I’m personally a Turnpike fan, and am as frustrated as anyone when the real fans that want the tickets don’t get the tickets. We want tickets in the hands of fans at an affordable price.”

Folks trying to score tickets to the Floore’s Country Store show on May 6th also had a rough go of it. Fans were already frustrated after presale tickets offered up on Wednesday sold out immediately. Then on Friday morning, a similar fate befell rabid fans who saw tickets sell out immediately, and also reportedly dealt with system glitches due to demand. Meanwhile, tickets for the event immediately showed up on StubHub and other reseller platforms, frustrating fans even more.

Though scalpers and resellers are certainly playing a role in the run for Turnpike Troubadours fans, so is the sheer volume of fans trying to score tickets, resulting not just in tickets selling out, but computer systems designed to deal with high demand crashing. As strange as it may seem, during the band’s hiatus, the Turnpike Troubadours increased the size of their fan base, and are now one of the hottest tickets in country music at the moment.

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