By Rachel Buchanan
Towson University junior Christopher Krueger said he always knows when tickets to Towson events are being sold. But when he entered the University Union at about noon on March 24, he was surprised to see a line of students snaking from the box office beyond the Tiger Reels movie rental store and around the corner to the post office.
As many students passing through the union read the sign outside the ticket windows, they hastily merged into the line. Still others were frenzied, urgently phoning friends to ask where they were and imploring them “to get here now.”
Krueger had no clue what was happening. “What’s this line for?” he asked innocently.
Krueger was among many Towson students who said they were unaware that tickets for Tigerfest’s main concert on April 26 had gone on sale. Since Tigerfest will be inside SECU Arena rather than outside in the larger Johnny Unitas Stadium where it has traditionally been held, seats to the show were limited. Within three days, all tickets had sold out.
Several students who were interviewed said they were upset that they either did not get floor seats to the concert or that they did not get tickets at all. They said organizers of Tigerfest should have done a better job advertising when tickets went on sale so everyone could have an equal chance to buy them.
“This is my last year at Towson,” senior Erin Smith said. “What’s the point of going to Tigerfest if I can’t get the full experience by being on the floor?”
Smith said she decided not to buy any tickets, but is hoping one of her friends who got a floor seat will decide not to go and offer his or her ticket.
Sophomore Arielle Mclean said that while last year’s Tigerfest at Unitas Stadium was rained out, she still thinks there is a downside to having the event indoors.
“If you come early, it doesn’t matter,” Mclean said. “If you don’t have those floor seats, you’re not going to be able to experience everything as opposed to if it were outside. But I think I’m just saying that because I’m upset that I didn’t get my ticket.”
Sarah Degler, Caitlin Moynihan, Lizzy Rumpz and Callie Vislay are freshmen who are going to Tigerfest together. They were all in line on March 24 and purchased floor seats, but they said Campus Activities Board members did a poor job advertising the ticket sales.
“I feel like if you didn’t have a Twitter, or even if you weren’t on for a few hours, you wouldn’t have known,” said Moynihan, who made it to the window at 2:40 p.m., the same time that the line attendant announced that there were only 30 floor seats left. “I was cleaning my room when I got all these texts saying to go get my ticket, so I left right away. I had no idea about it and I wouldn’t have gotten mine unless that happened.”
“There was so much discrepancy between when the tickets were available, when they ran out, how much they were,” Rumpz said. “There was mass confusion in my class. Some people thought the ticket prices were lower, some people thought they were going to be sold on Wednesday, and some people didn’t even know where they were being sold.”
Sophomore Lissy Klatchko, one of the CAB marketing chairs, agreed that Twitter is the board’s primary news outlet. However, she said CAB also posted information about ticket sales on Facebook and the CAB website.
“We all just got back from Spring Break, so there was only so much on-campus marketing that we could do,” Klatchko said. “I’m pretty confident that more people were on Twitter over the weekend than were on campus in those two hours between classes and the ticket office opening. But I do think we could’ve done somewhat of a better job with making sure that people were clear on those details.”
Senior Chad Nazworth, the director of CAB, also agreed with concerns about ticket advertising. CAB has also received negativity for the indoor venue and lack of floor seats, but Nazworth said he feels the board made the right decision. According to Klatchko, Tigerfest costs an average of over $200,000 each year.
“Putting an event of this caliber on an outdoor field in April in Maryland is somewhat ridiculous,” Nazworth said. “You’re putting it in the hands of weather and there’s no opportunity to reschedule because artists would have to reschedule tours, campus would have to reschedule sporting events and crew would have to reschedule production. So for rain, snow, whatever, we are still going to have a show in that space on the day of the event, and we will still be able to give the students what we promised.”
Klatchko said it has rained two of the past three Tigerfests and five of the last 10. She said CAB members addressed a lot of student feedback by moving the event indoors. Nazworth thinks the experience will be memorable no matter where a student is sitting.
“You’re not going to be strapped and stationed to a seat just because you’re in the risers,” Nazworth said. “You can stand up with your friends, you can go on the concourse, you can mill about that space and still enjoy yourself the best you can, and I wish people took that into consideration.”
In an attempt to compensate for the indoor venue, Klatchko said Tigerfest will be split into two days. On April 25 at 5:30 p.m., there will be a festival on Burdick Field with musical performances by Kingsfoil and Go Go Gadjet. The next day at 6 p.m., Steve Aoki and Juicy J will be the headliners in SECU Arena.
“We are really, really excited to make this show happen for students,” Nazworth said. “If it doesn’t meet up to student expectations, then I hope that they come and find me and tell me that because I think this is going to set the bar really high. It’ll be different because it’s not the same Tigerfest. It’s not outdoors, but it’s a safer bet.”
“I’m sure CAB is upset when they get negative comments because I bet they put a lot of effort into this, so it’s not their fault,” Vislay said. “I’m sure they expected not everyone to be happy about the advertising or the venue, but I think it’s a pretty good testament to them that they sold out the show in three days.”