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Garth Brooks apologizes for ticket-sales meltdown for Fargodome shows

FARGO -- "Tremendous demand" prompted Garth Brooks officials to suspend all ticket sales for two concerts at the Fargodome until next week, a breakdown Brooks himself called frustrating.

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Country super star Garth Brooks opens his 11-show set at Target Center on Thursday, November 6, 2014. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

FARGO - "Tremendous demand" prompted Garth Brooks officials to suspend all ticket sales for two concerts at the Fargodome until next week, a breakdown Brooks himself called frustrating.

Tickets for a previously announced Saturday, May 7, concert, as well as a just-announced Friday, May 6, show at the Fargodome, went on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, March 18.

While some fans got tickets before the suspension, others said on Twitter and through social media that they were having problems with the online and phone systems for these shows.

Just after 10:30 a.m., the ticketing system was overloaded by "tremendous demand," and ticket sales were suspended.

Tickets will be back on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 24, according to the announcement from Leigh Ann Pigue, an official with Varnell Enterprises that handles Brooks' tour. She told The Forum that the ticketing system couldn't handle demand Friday morning.

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"Instead of trying to churn through it to try to get folks in, we just decided to suspend the sales, get everything fixed and make sure everyone has a great experience next Thursday," she said.

 

Frustration for some

A similar ticketing issue happened last year in San Diego, Pigue said. After a suspension, "everything went beautifully" on the second try.

She said anyone who was able to buy a ticket for Brooks' two announced concerts at the Fargodome so far has their seat and won't need to do anything else. The number of tickets sold on Friday wasn't immediately available.

Brooks called Fargo's Bob 95 FM shortly after the ticket problem to explain what happened, telling the radio station that he was "kind of miffed" about it.

"I'm frustrated and apologetic," he said, adding he's also "extremely flattered" about high demand for his Fargo shows, his first here since a three-night run in 1998.

The same company handling sales for the Fargodome shows successfully sold more than 90,000 tickets last week for six concerts in Des Moines, Iowa, Brooks said, but the system "just melted" a couple minutes after opening for the Fargo concerts.

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When Bob 95's host joked Brooks "broke the Internet," he said that made him want to say thank you, "but the same time I want to say I'm so sorry."

Drayton, N.D., resident Jeremy Pollestad said he took the day off work from his job at the local elevator so he could get online early to get tickets. He said he was frustrated about what happened, especially because he was in the online virtual waiting room for an hour with no luck but saw people post that they made a purchase even though they logged in well after he did.

He won't be able to take next Thursday off to try again, so Pollestad said he might have to buy from a third party online if he wants to see Brooks in Fargo.

"I may end up spending twice as much money," he said. "There's tickets all over the place right now on the Internet."

Other disappointed fans posted on social media, with some saying they were able to put tickets in an online cart and enter payment information but got an error message instead of confirmation they would have seats at the Fargodome. There were also reports of people trying to call the hotline to buy tickets only to be told the queue was full and to try again.

But luckier fans took to the Internet to share their joy.

Twitter user @JRC89, a resident of Somerset, Wis., tweeted he got tickets for the Fargodome show for his mom as a Mother's Day gift, while @NoDakTrav was grateful it worked out for him.

"Glad I got #garthinfargo tickets before the Internet needed a breather," he wrote on Twitter.

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Ryan Johnson is the Features Editor for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Since joining The Forum's staff in 2012, he has also reported on several beats, including higher education, business and features. Readers can reach him at 218-791-9610 or rmjohnson@forumcomm.com
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