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FOR BROOKS CONCERT, FANTASTIX WASN'T FANTASTIC

This is probably one of several letters you've received regarding the utter chaos surrounding ticket sales for the Garth Brooks concert from Fantastix ticket outlets in the Buffalo area on August 15.

My husband and I, in addition to many friends and some family members, attempted to obtain tickets to the concert. Among us, we were present at six Tops Markets through the area and were in communication by cellular phones.

In all the years of going to great lengths to obtain tickets to concerts, theater events, sporting events and other activities, we have never been through the absolute fiasco we experienced on Saturday, Aug. 15.

On Wednesday, August 12, my husband and I visited the Tops Market Fantastix location on Niagara Street for the wristbands necessary for a spot in the store's ticket line three days later. Like thousands of people, we wore the wristbands for 72 hours. Like thousands of people, we took our place in line at 7 a.m. on August 15.

Like thousands of people, we were almost shut out of tickets for any show due to the volume of phone calls from those who did not go through one-tenth of the process we did. Those people received tickets. At 4:30 p.m., my husband and I purchased tickets for the fifth show, with seats in the far corner of Marine Midland Arena.

We were the only ones of our family members and friends who received tickets. The others, waiting at various other Tops locations, left just before 6 p.m., ticketless even after the sixth show was added. All of them had wristbands. All lost out to the "fairness" of tickets-by-phone.

Another source of frustration? The fact the ticket company claims seats were sold in order of best seats available at the time of purchase. Seats all over the arena were being sold, in absolutely no order, at least at our location.

According to The Buffalo News, 13,000 ticket wristbands were recently given away in Philadelphia for this performer, and six shows were sold out. In Buffalo, more than 18,000 wristbands were handed out just on Wednesday, with more available on Thursday. How, then, could the record demand for tickets on Saturday have been a surprise to promoters and the ticket agency?

Our experiences with Fantastix on Saturday left many questions. The company was simply not equipped to handle such record demand. Despite some problems that may have been out of its control, there was little attempt to keep the process "fair" for concert hopefuls.

Fantastix earned a great deal of money, based on the service fees charged. We deserve some answers.

Gina Rummel Clarence

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