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Resellers can’t unload Montana Stones tickets

The Stones performance set for Wednesday in Missoula was a sellout right after tickets went on sale in August. Less than a week before the show, though, the ticket tale is a sad one. People looking to resell theirs, even at less than face value, are struggling for buyers
/ Source: The Associated Press

You can’t always get what you want when the Rolling Stones are set to play a small Montana city and you’re trying to unload your concert tickets.

The Stones performance set for Wednesday in Missoula was a sellout right after tickets went on sale in August. Less than a week before the show, though, the ticket tale is a sad one. People looking to resell theirs, even at less than face value, are struggling for buyers.

“I hope I don’t eat them all,” Andy Mefford said of the four tickets he’s trying to unload after spending around $1,000 for the lot.

Forty-six classified advertisements to sell Stones tickets appeared in the Missoulian newspaper Thursday, and tickets were for sale on eBay, where one of the sellers tried what amounts to a poignant appeal in Montana. “Need money for hunting rifle,” read the posting for row 35, seats 9 and 10 at the University of Montana football stadium in Missoula, a city of some 60,000 residents.

About 21,000 of the stadium’s seats were designated for the concert, with ticket prices and related fees ranging from $77 to $377, and on-stage tickets priced higher.

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Monte Jenkins, an aspiring actor being laid off as an airline baggage handler in Missoula, said he paid $2,100 for 10 tickets that he expected to resell profitably. Jenkins’ introduction to the so-called secondary market has been jarring. He said he sold seven of the tickets, two at a profit and the others at break-even or losing prices.

“I’ll get whatever I can out of them,” Jenkins said of the remaining tickets. He expects to end up $500 to $800 in the red. Using a ticket himself isn’t much of an option, he said, because he doesn’t like the Rolling Stones.

Longtime fan Sharon Hawke of Polson, about 70 miles from Missoula, has attended Stones concerts in Seattle, Phoenix and elsewhere, and plans to be in a party of four at the show. Hawke has advertised one unneeded ticket, bought for $353, and had no takers Thursday morning.

“Most people, because it’s during a work week, can’t go,” said Hawke. “Other people have no interest in seeing them. They said if it was Toby Keith, they’d do it.”

It may be there is a surplus of tickets for resale because true Stones fans bought theirs immediately, and the market has been satisfied without resale, said Gary Bongiovanni of Pollstar in Fresno, Calif. The company publishes news tailored to the music industry and maintains a concert database.

Stones tickets typically are in demand wherever the group performs, said Fran Curtis of Rogers & Cowan, an entertainment public relations firm that speaks for the Stones concert tour. On Wednesday, people still were searching for last-minute tickets to the Stones concert that night at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Curtis said.

Stones tickets were also selling for a premium in Kentucky nearby Churchill Downs, the site of the Kentucky Derby, where the group is playing Friday. Tickets with a face value of $300 sold on eBay this week for hundreds of dollars more.