Mid-State Fair

Local fans — not scalpers — bought most of Garth Brooks tickets, fair says

Artist Garth Brooks performs at the 2017 CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. He will perform two concerts with Trisha Yearwood on July 27 at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles.
Artist Garth Brooks performs at the 2017 CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. He will perform two concerts with Trisha Yearwood on July 27 at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. Invision/Associated Press

Paso Robles residents bought more tickets to this summer’s sold-out Garth Brooks concert at the California Mid-State Fair than people in any other city, a fair spokesman said Tuesday, noting that roughly 60 percent of overall ticket sales came from San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties.

And although concertgoers and resellers snapped up all 14,875 tickets for Brooks’ show with wife Trisha Yearwood less than 30 seconds after they went on sale Friday, Tom Keffury dismissed rumors that ticket sales were led, not by ordinary fans, but by robots used by scalping sites.

Ticketmaster, which sold the tickets, has “world-class anti-bot technology,” Keffury said.

Keffury also dismissed rumors that the fair acted in cooperation with ticket re-sellers for that July 27 show. “The Mid-State Fair sold no blocks of tickets to secondary ticket sites,” Keffury said. “There’s absolutely no collusion.”

In response to demand, Brooks announced a second fair concert Monday. He will perform at the Paso Robles Event Center for the first time at 7:30 p.m., and take the Chumash Grandstand Arena stage again at 10:30 p.m.

Tickets for the later July 27 show go on sale at noon Thursday.

Tickets cost $73.98 apiece, plus a $6 service charge. (The price does not include admission to the fairgrounds.) There is a six-ticket limit per person “to provide ticket access to as many fans as possible,” Keffury said, and would-be purchasers must provide a credit card and a verified billing address. (The fair recommends that concertgoers bring credit cards and valid IDs with them to the concert just in case tickets don’t scan properly.)

Tickets can only be purchased by calling Ticketmaster Express at 866-448-7849 or 800-745-3000, or visiting ticketmaster.com/garthbrooks or ticketmaster.com. No ticket will be sold at the fairgrounds or Ticketmaster outlets on Thursday.

In the case of the first show, Keffury said ticket buyers with Paso Robles ZIP codes — 93446 and 93447 — led the charge for the fastest-selling show in fair history.

Atascadero came in second in terms of ticket purchases, followed by Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande and Templeton, Keffury said, although he couldn’t say which percentage of tickets were sold to fans in each city.

About 20 percent of additional ticket sales came from the Central Valley, 10 percent from Northern California communities such as Salinas and points north and 10 percent from Santa Barbara and points south, he said.

“It’s going to be an exciting day Thursday, and I hope everybody who wants tickets gets tickets,” said Keffury, expressing confidence in Ticketmaster’s abilities to handle a second speedy sale.

“Ticketmaster has huge front-end technical capabitilies. They can process thousands of requests almost simultaneously,” Keffury said. “Garth Brooks has millions of fans, thousands of which live here and want to buy tickets. ... We have a lot of confidence in the technology and processes in place to ensure that tickets go directly to fans.”

In an effort to curtail bot-enabled scalping, Ticketmaster offers concert pre-sales for select artists through its Verified Fan program, which allows pre-registered users to buy tickets before they go on sale for the general public. That option was not available for Brooks’ fair concerts, Keffury said.

Ticketmaster did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Nor did Nancy Seltzer & Associates, which handles public relations for Brooks.

Brooks, whose hits include “Friends in Low Places” and “Unanswered Prayers,” is making his debut at the Paso Robles Event Center. His wife, “How Do I Live” singer Trisha Yearwood, has performed at the fair three times — headlining in 1995 and 1997 and opening for Don Henley in 2002.

The California Mid-State Fair runs July 19-30 at the Paso Robles Event Center. For more information, call 1-800-909-FAIR (3247) or visit http://www.midstatefair.com/fair.

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