Originally created 09/12/99

Concert sells out too quick for some



Not willing to risk busy signals and computer glitches, more than 500 people waited in line Saturday for the chance to buy Elton John tickets at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center box office.

Tickets went on sale online, by phone and in person at 10 a.m. and in 43 minutes the Oct. 9 concert was sold out.

"Elton John is about as good as it gets," said Reggie Williams, general manager of the civic center. "This should send signals to the promoters that Augusta is a good market."

But not all ticket buyers were satisfied. More than 100 left the civic center empty handed. Many complained that those who had waited in line (some for more than 24 hours) should have had the opportunity to purchase the best seats. They lambasted technology and its unfairness. Some vowed never to see another concert at the civic center.

Tab Newman, who was first in line after camping out since 8:30 a.m. Friday, said she was disappointed that she couldn't get floor-level seats.

"By the time I got through, she (the ticket seller) said the Internet had wiped them off," she said. "I got my hopes up, but a lot of people are not going to get to see him."

Ms. Newman got tickets in section 112, which is the next level of seats from the floor.

Mr. Williams said the civic center had no authority on when tickets would be sold in Augusta.

"It's Elton John's agency that sets the rule," he told angry ticket buyers.

"There's going to be some initial disappointment," he said. "People all over the country have access to tickets. The good news is this is a small arena, and the worst seat is better than some seats in other arenas."

There were 8,103 tickets available for the concert, said Mr. Williams. Prices were $49.50 and $59.50.

Although her hopes of a front row seat were dashed, Ms. Newman said she was grateful to get tickets and appreciated all that the civic center management did for those who camped overnight. "I waited two days to see the Judds, and they didn't have security out here. They didn't let us use the bathrooms, but they did this time," she said.

REACH

Charmain Z. Brackett at (803) 441-6927 or czbrackett@hotmail.com.