JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Thousands of people Friday purchased tickets for Taylor Swift's April 24th concert, but hundreds have had a hard time finding tickets. ASU officials said the web-server, operated by a ticket company out of Bolivar, Colorado, couldn't handle overwhelming demand. Thousands across the Region 8 viewing area were unable to purchase tickets online.
"The best analogy that I can make with it is. It's like trying to pour 1,000 gallons of water into a funnel into a 16 ounce bottle. With that it's just so many people trying to get in, it was causing an overload on the system," said Tim Dean, Director of ASU's Convocation Center.
According to Dean, several thousand potential customers were trying to log on at the same time. Dean said that crashed the servers.
"This show was so well-received, that the response that comes from the internet has been just overwhelming to the support software, not with ASU's, but with the ticketing software that we have with a company in Bolivar, Colorado," said Dean.
Dean said ASU has adapted a lottery-to-purchase system when selling concert tickets. He said it's designed to keep patrons safe. "What really prompted us to do it was we had a father drop a 12-year old kid off out here. And left them all night to camp out, and I said then we'd never do that again."
Dean said he wants to keep his customers safe and happy. He said safety, however, is the number one priority. "It's not a perfect system by any means, but it is the most fair in our opinion: for the safety of the customer," said Dean.
"I've never heard of such non-sense really," said Kevin Lyles.
Lyles said he arrived at the Convocation Center at 10:30 p.m. Thursday; however, he wasn't allowed to purchase his tickets until 10:45 a.m., nearly an hour after they went on sale. He said 85 people bought tickets ahead of him.
"You could be the last person in line and then end up the first in line," said Dean.
Lyles said he bought 8 tickets for the show. "It's the convocation center so everything is a good seat. We're going to go and have fun and not worry about it," said Lyles.
Here's how the lottery to purchase works: 1. Get an armband from a pot depending on what time you arrived. 2. The number on the arm band is your new position in line.
"We've been here since about 8:15, and they were pretty much down the sidewalk and when they did the armband. I know they gave out 142 armbands," said Carole Hoggard. "I was number 106, so then I was only like the 31st person in line, and I was already at the back of the line when I first got here."
Patrons were only allowed to purchase a maximum of 8 tickets, but some were able to get more thanks to other people in line.
"I was a nice mom and grandma for coming out here and standing out and getting for kids," said Dora Haff.
THE JOY OF THOSE WITH LUCK
The people who were able to purchase tickets considered themselves lucky. The line of people when the box office opened at 10:00 a.m. wrapped around the red entrance.
"My little niece, she doesn't miss any of the country concerts that come here, so the last one she was at out here was Carrie Underwood, so she gets to go, she goes to all of them so I just volunteered my time to stand out here and get her some tickets," said Hoggard.
"My son was getting it for his girlfriend for Valentine's Day, and I wanted to come with them, I enjoy music," said Rhonda McCullar. "Everyone was talking about how they weren't getting very many together."
Dean said the Convocation Center has been one of the best hot spots for country music fans.
"As it's going right now, Taylor is probably the hottest act that there is in the music industry today," said Dean. "It's another sell out for us, we've had. We certainly appreciate people supporting the events that we've had, we've had a very good year, Reba-Kelly with Sugarland followed by Carrie Underwood and now this one."
While waiting in line for a chance to purchase tickets, several people were chatting amongst themselves. Most were worried that the tickets would be sold before they had the chance.
"We were overhearing that they sold out online, they sold out at the mall, so we were concerned about whether or not we were going to get any," said Kristie Coronado.
Coronado was lucky. She was able to purchase the final 3 tickets. They were all singles.
"The security guard, or officer, or whoever he was came out and said we had three separate tickets, and there was people behind them saying we want them, we want them, and I said nu-huh, this lady is in front of me, and if she doesn't want them, I want them, and she didn't want them, so we got to get all three of them," said Coronado.
FRUSTRATION OF FAILURE
Officials at ASU said hundreds of people were still in line when the last tickets were gobbled up. Most everyone in line felt left out.
"I'm frustrated with the system because we started logging on right at ten o'clock and we were frustrated because it said server error," said Laura Kuscin.
Kuscin was one of the first people in line to learn of the sold out show. She said her husband and best friend were trying to buy tickets over the phone and online, but they were unsuccessful.
"Most of us have been talking to people at home online trying to get tickets, I have a friend and husband both, trying to get through, either by phone or online," said Kuscin.
Kuscin said she waited in line 2 hours and was unable to get tickets.
"It feels awful, honestly, I'm getting tickets for my kids so my husband was going to take my girls and I'm sad now, I feel like I waited here 2 hours and you know, I'm bummed out," said Kuscin.
Dean said Taylor Swift is just one of many country music stars to hold concerts at the Convocation Center.