After waiting in line for two days, Tammy Zabenko couldn’t stop the tears as she walked out the door of the Columbia County Library with three Lady Antebellum tickets in her hand.
“The first time I heard their first CD, I fell in love with them,” Zabenko said, covering her face to hide her emotion. “I can’t wait to tell my daughters.”
Zabenko had joined hundreds of others who camped in tents on the sidewalk to get tickets for the Oct. 28 concert at the new amphitheater at Evans Town Center Park. Because only 3,100 general admission tickets were offered, many thought they would miss out if they didn’t get in line early.
However, after the long line that snaked around the library and government center parking lots early Saturday morning was gone, almost 800 tickets were left 50 minutes after the doors opened at 8 a.m. Saturday.
As word spread that tickets still were available, more people began to arrive. The ATM set up in the lobby ran out of cash at 10 a.m., and the tickets were sold out by 10:30.
Columbia County Sheriff's Sgt. Earnest Furgeison, who handled security during the sale, complimented organizers on how well the event was organized. Furgeison said he noticed the lines moved quickly because the even dollar amount of the ticket price, requiring purchases to be cash only and limiting the number of tickets to four per person made it easy for cashiers to handle sales.
“It was very controlled and very well organized,” Furgeison said. “This whole process has been great since the first man set up a tent at noon on Wednesday. The crowd was enthused and excited when we opened the doors, and they just moved on through without stopping.”
Twelve cashiers were set up selling the tickets for the event, which will benefit the John W. Kelley, M.D. Cardiovascular Endowment, University Health Care Foundation and the MCG Health Children’s Medical Center.
“It’s been fun, interesting. It was a very good crowd; they were calmer than I expected,” cashier Mary Lin Maner said.
The first people in line, several of whom had been there for more than two days, brought some amusement to the cashiers.
“Some had layers of clothes, messy hair and morning breath,” Beverly Smith said. “And they couldn’t open their money up because their fingers were so cold and stiff. I felt sorry for them because I know they had to be tired. But, they were happy when they got their tickets.”
Those who took a chance and arrived Saturday morning were just as happy.
“I just came at 7:35 and got in line and lucked out, because evidently, these are like gold,” Alan Rogers said, holding up his badges. “It makes me feel a little bit guilty that I didn’t have to camp out.”
The acoustic concert also will serve as a dedication of the new amphitheater, Lady Antebellum Pavilion, which is named in the country trio’s honor. Corey Crowder and The Stewart & Winfield Band will be the open acts.