By Meg O’Neil
It was a mad dash to the Ticketmaster website at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, as three-day passes to the iconic Newport Folk Festival went on sale for a $159 “early bird” special. The majority of those seeking the tickets using a special promotion code provided the previous day by festival organizers were left disappointed – the early bird tickets had sold out in roughly 15 minutes. Last year, the same tickets sold out in three hours.
By 2 p.m. on Tuesday, all the regularly priced 3-day passes to the festival were sold out. Single day and two-day passes are still available. Many hopeful concertgoers took to the Newport Folk Festival’s Facebook page, expressing their frustration and disbelief that the 3-day passes were already gone.
It’s a monumental shift in popularity for the over 60 year old festival, which has seen its popularity soar in recent years. In 2012, the festival sold out in three weeks – more than three months before the opening day of the festival. Instead of being a Saturday and Sunday festival, organizers recently added Friday to the schedule. Fans rejoiced online for the extended weekend of music.
On Tuesday evening, festival organizers wrote to fans, thanking them for their “overwhelming support.”
The note also acknowledged the disappointment that many fans felt in being unable to buy the early bird tickets and 3-day passes.
“We originally created the early bird offer to reward our early buyers,” the organizers wrote. “However, have learned that the joy this brings to some is now overshadowed by the disappointment it brings to other. Clearly, it seems the only way to fix this going forward is to just offer one fixed price to all.”
What’s truly astounding about the rapidly-selling tickets is that a lineup of performing artists will not be announced for weeks.
The Newport Folk Festival organizers also vowed to do their part to stop scalpers from price gouging tickets online, but it will be an uphill battle. On Wednesday morning, a look at StubHub.com, a popular website where fans can buy tickets from other fans, there were already 44 three-day pass tickets available with prices ranging from $375-$999.