After receiving a deluge of more than 60,000 envelopes seeking tickets for three nights at Soldier Field on the Fourth of July weekend, the band’s ticketing office announced Tuesday that Deadheads have only a 1 in 10 chance that their requests will be honored.
About 90 percent of the Grateful Dead fans hoping for mail-order tickets to the band’s 50th anniversary reunion shows in Chicago are in for a bummer.
After receiving a deluge of more than 60,000 envelopes seeking tickets for three nights at Soldier Field on the Fourth of July weekend, the band’s ticketing office announced Tuesday that Deadheads have only a 1 in 10 chance that their requests will be honored. Blocks of tickets are being saved for sales through Ticketmaster and VIP packages.
“There were many, many times more order requests than anyone imagined, thousands and thousands with beautiful art,” the office said on its website. The band had encouraged fans to decorate their envelopes.
The Dead last month restarted the Postal Service-enabled operation that turned the group into a touring juggernaut, trailed by fans who created a souk of tie-dyed garb and hallucinogens wherever they played. The window for mail orders opened Jan. 20, and online Ticketmaster sales will begin Feb. 28.
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Last month, the surviving core members of the legendary San Francisco band — Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman — announced that they would team up with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti for the first shows as the Grateful Dead since guitarist Jerry Garcia died in 1995.
Many fans, including New York-based guitarist Luke Johnson, have already made travel arrangements. Johnson, who first began listening to the Dead more than 30 years ago, said he’s yet to receive a response to his mail-in request and doesn’t know anyone who has. Fans would like to know what proportion of tickets are being sold through Ticketmaster, he said.
“If it comes down to online, that can be sketchy,” Johnson said, citing resale sites like StubHub. “It would be a drag to purchase those.”
Reactions online were mixed, with Deadheads expressing both frustration as well as an appreciation of the business reality of how sales are arranged today, five decades after the Dead played free shows in Golden Gate Park when LSD was legal.
One user on the site Jambands.com, who posted under the name Dan, wrote: “They did what they could; the demand was just simply off the charts.”
Others were less sympathetic.
“The GD should have made 90% of the tix distributed through mail order,” said a user who went by btezra. “But alas the mighty dollar and greed are more important than anything else.”
Fans who will win tickets through mail order will be notified beginning in the next two days, the band said.
The news will arrive by e-mail.