Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scalpers ruining GABF ticket sales?

2012 Great American Beer Festival SOLD OUTHoly Snap-ups! The 2012 Great American Beer Festival (#GABF) sold out in less than 10 minutes this year! Tickets for all 3 evening sessions of the GABF went on sale on Ticketmaster at 10:00am MDT today, Thursday, August 2nd, and by 10:40am the GABF announced they were all gone. And already many fans are crying foul, and rightly so. Secondary ticket sites like StubHub had hundreds of GABF tickets up for sale with asking prices of between $140 to $275 even before 11:00am MDT.

Judging by the record sell-out time of the Saturday afternoon Members Only tasting session on Tuesday July 31st, it seemed as if this year would sell out in record time. And sure enough it did, faster than anyone could have imagined it would. The 2011 GABF sold out last year in just over a week and fears of an quick sell out this year came to a harsh reality.

Used to be, (back in my day...) you could walk up and buy tickets the day of the event. Then, as the beer festival grew in popularity, the event began selling out after a month or so after the tickets went on sale. This was the case until the Brewer's Association decided they could no longer handle ticket sales themselves and handed the reins over to Ticketmaster to manage ticket sales for the event.

What ended up happening is quickly apparent. Now we see huge service fees being tacked onto all tickets making the event one of the most expensive beer festivals in the country. Add to that - bugs in the software caused major issues during the first hour of sales on Tuesday to AHA and BA members. Now it would appear, ticket scalpers logged on to Ticketmaster in mass at 10:00am and bought out hundreds if not thousands of tickets with the sole purpose of re-selling them on secondary ticket sites for a massive profit.

Talk about a buzz kill. Just follow the conversations on Twitter and Facebook about how several fans are getting angry about the entire process. Has making tickets easier to get turned this festival into a greed fest?

Something has GOT to change or else the GABF will soon become an event that most will end up avoiding due to the apparent GREED coming from organized scalpers. Will you be willing to pay upwards of $250 for a ticket to the GABF? Has the GABF gotten too big for its own britches?

Let's face it, even if you expand the GABF to another session, that wouldn't solve the problem. Having a larger venue might help a bit, but the crowds would become almost to the point where you couldn't control them or have enough of the popular beers for everyone. Already we see many beers running dry well before the final session on Saturday night.

So readers, I ask you. What's to become of the Great American Beer Festival in the years to come? What can be done to prevent apparent scalpers and greedy individuals from ruining one of the greatest of beer fests?

Related articles:
- Ticketmaster or Ticketdisaster? GABF sales hit snag.
- 10 ways to make the GABF even better.
- 2011 GABF tickets selling out fast. (2011)

This article came from - a Colorado beer blog.
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