Turnpike Troubadours Fans Frustrated As Red Rocks Tickets Sell Out

This story has been updated (see bottom).

Fans of Oklahoma’s Turnpike Troubadours were super excited to learn earlier this week that after a 2 1/2-year hiatus, the band was finally getting back together, and was planning a reunion show at the legendary Red Rocks amphitheater in Colorado on May 14th, 2022 with Reckless Kelly and Shovels & Rope opening the show—two big names in their own right.

With the pent up demand to see the Turnpike Troubadours live, fans wanting to celebrate the band’s reunification, and the impressive list of openers, tickets were sure to be a hot commodity. But nobody anticipated it being so hot that very few actual fans would end up with tickets.

Though it’s difficult to impossible to peer behind the curtain of the ticket selling process to see just how many actual Turnpike Troubadours fans were able to score tickets compared to scalpers and resellers, taking an anecdotal tab of posts on social media shows an overwhelming consensus of people getting locked out of the process despite sometimes waiting hours to secure seats.

Account after account from the experience on Thursday with the presale and Friday with the general sale was one of frustration and letdown to the point where fans looking for Turnpike Troubadours tickets and getting turned away became an internet meme. Meanwhile, tons of tickets are actually available, only it’s on the secondary market for markups ranging between $400 to $900.

“I’m convinced that not a single actual human being got tickets to Turnpike Troubadours’ Red Rocks show,” one fan said on Twitter, with many folks concurring with the take. “Still have yet to see one single actual human being say that they got a hold of Turnpike Troubadours tickets,” said another. “F*CK these scalpers and resale websites, man.”

Many frustrated fans turned their ire towards the ticketer AXS, whose system required some to wait in holding pins for extended periods just for an opportunity to purchase tickets, only to be told tickets were sold out when it was their time, and immediately being presented with resale tickets marked up significantly from the original $49.99-$79.99 prices.

“AXS, so you advertise Turnpike Troubadours tickets for $49.99-$79.99. You make people wait 2 hours only to find out the only available tickets are now $400.00. What kind of operation is that?” said one frustrated patron.

Another chimed in, “It’s unfortunate that the true fans, die hard fans willing to wait hours for tickets won’t be the ones there… unless they can afford to pay a ridiculous amount from resale. I’m mad for us but also for the Turnpike Troubadours because they deserved for us to be there.”

Obviously, the experience Turnpike Troubadours fans are having is not unusual in music in 2021. But it is unusual for Turnpike Troubadours fans. It’s not just automatic buying bots and scalpers gaming the system, but the intense interest in this reunion show that is feeding the intense desire for tickets by secondary resellers.

And unfortunately, even if the band adds a second show (which is a possibility), it’s still very likely that demand will continue to outpace supply, and resellers will be the ones walking away with the proceeds, not the band. The secondary markup on Turnpike Troubadours tickets is money taken out of the independent music economy, not added to it.

And though they were few and far between, some fans did score tickets for the face value price. “I JUST SCORED FOUR TICKETS TO TURNPIKE TROUBADOURS AT RED ROCKS!!! I AM SO EXCITED!!!,” the one lone fan that Saving Country Music could hunt down said in celebration.

But however frustrated fans are at process, it’s important to understand it’s not just a symptom of the inequitable ticketing system, it’s also due to the massive appeal for the Turnpike Troubadours, and this show specifically. It was going to be difficult securing tickets either way. Very likely a full-blown tour will be booked at some point in the future, with many more opportunities for people to see the band, and closer to home. It’s just very aggravating to many fans who wanted to be there to support them for their first show back.

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UPDATE: Turnpike Troubadours fiddle player Kyle Nix chimed in via the Facebook comments on this article, saying, “Yeah, this really sucks. I hate it for the folks who’ve stuck by us through everything & still can’t get tickets. We really didn’t think about this type of thing. We’ve been more focused on each other more than anything. But just hang in there if you can. The future is wide open.”

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