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Why are venue rules for GA lines not being enforced?


vertigojds

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For almost every show this tour (if not all), the venue hosting the show has posted rules for the show, and made them publicly available on their website, through social media, etc.  These always include some kind of restriction against lining up more than a certain amount of time before the show.

It appears that a small group of select fans are violating these rules, thus taking advantage of the clearly established policies.

For instance, the Tampa stadium said very clearly on their website and on Twitter than fans may not line up before 8am on the morning of the show, June 14th.  However, Twitter postings shared on this forum indicate that people started lining up the afternoon of June 12th, in clear violation of the established rules.

Why is this being tolerated?

It might not seem like a big deal to some, but I think it's actually a very big deal.  The system is only fair if everyone plays by the same set of rules.  If I had been going to the Tampa show, I would have seen the post from the venue, and thought, "OK, the venue is not allowing people to show up before a certain time, so if I show up at the earliest time allowed, I should be at or near the front of the line."  Then, I would have gotten to the venue and discovered that there were dozens or hundreds of people who were in front of me, who flagrantly violated the posted rules, and rather than being disciplined for it, are being rewarded.

When official outlets like the band or the venue broadcast instructions, those need to hold true for everyone.  If some rules apply to some people, but not to others, it creates a massively unfair system that rewards bad actors while penalizing those who try to do the right thing.

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The venues don't want lines forming on their property. But there's nothing stopping people from lining up early, off the venue's property. Should the venue recognize these unofficial lines? There's two sides to that coin.

Yes, the unofficial line rewards a few fans, who are prepared to travel, & invest quite a bit of time (though, for most most of them, most of that time is not spent camped outside the venue). This system rewards those that can make it to the venue one or two days in advance, & have the time to check in a couple of times a day. But really, these people are not required to spend much time in line, until show day. Those running the line, if they are dishonest, can also add friends near the top of the list (although I've met some very nice, honest people running the lines). The same people get the best spots for many, many shows. Those who have found that little bit of time to check in over a day or two will be much further up the line than other people who have just arrived very early on the day of the show. Even though both groups will be spending the equal amounts of time in line on show day. So no, it doesn't seem exactly fair does it. The unofficial line has served me well in the past, as I'm prepared to get to venues early, & usually have time for check ins (I'm usually travelling). But I'm not sure it's the best way.

The problem is, what's the alternative? I don't think the venue can just say arrive at 8am. Is 7:55am ok, or does it have to be right at 8am? How many people will be waiting at 8am to start the line. If it's something like the Rosebowl it could be 100's & 100's. How do you organize these people, who have all arrived right at 8am? Who gets to be #1? Some venues send people away, & don't want to see them until 2pm. Could be over a 1,000 people by then. How do all these people to be organized? Can't just get them to organize themselves, there would be chaos!

I think the best solution would be to have a lottery, ala Bruce Springsteen. Run by U2's crew, to keep it fair. That way there's be no advantage gained from excessive queuing, & we'd have different people in the prime spots every night.

The only problem, if the lottery was performed late in the day & involved many, many 100's of people, if the lottery number fell badly for you, you could be way, way back. Being short, this would suck for me. So I think there should be some benefit in arriving early, & spending your time in line. So I'd propose an early morning lottery, 7-8am, for the couple of hundred people there. Everyone who arrives early would still get a good spot, but the best spots will go to different people for each show. Anyone arriving after the lottery just joins the back of the line. If the venue doesn't want queuing until 2pm, wristband people, numbered, & different colours for those in the lottery & those who arrived after. Some work, but a fairer system.

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7 hours ago, vertigojds said:

I've been to quite a few Springsteen shows and I'd absolutely be in favor of adopting that policy. 

Same. Everyone knows the risks. Everyone knows the rewards. It's fair and above board.

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Honestly I don't think there's one good way to do it. Security just doesn't want people congregating on premises, that's their primary concern. I've seen them claim they're not going to allow any early lining up and then at X time in the morning they wristband the line first because it's organized. Fans who run the line work with security, try to help out security, and have been thanked by security for being organized. Both the lottery system and current system are good in theory. The line prevents people rushing the venue at the time security says people can line up. Say someone shows up right at 6 AM wristbanding and a couple people who got there after them manage to get in front of them. Do you think they're going to be okay with that? Multiply that by potentially hundreds of people all claiming they were there first or there before someone else and you've got people yelling and pushing. The line provides proof of time and order and has things organized early so that by the time security does wristbanding, everyone's already lined up in order. I've seen this happen.

With the lottery system, yes it will potentially prevent early, or extremely early queuing. It will help make things more fair for people who can't take 2+ days off work. But it's also going to negatively impact many people. The lottery system works until you're behind twenty people who won't stop putting their cameras/phones/signs in the air and you spent $100+ on a ticket just to look at the back of a piece of paper or see the band through someone's phone and all of a sudden lottery isn't working for you. And for a lot of people they're attending their first show, their first time doing GA or can only afford to go see one show, and really want to have an amazing experience including being up front but the lottery system could rip that away from them. Or people with children who really want to be at rail so they don't have to worry about people pushing their kids, their kids getting tired or so their kids can see.

There are pros and cons to both systems, there is fairness and unfairness to both systems. I personally think the best system is having someone from security, band or venue, starting the line and dictating when and where to be. Some think things are good the way they are, and some think the lottery system is the best way to go. 

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12 hours ago, ddarroch said:

The only problem, if the lottery was performed late in the day & involved many, many 100's of people, if the lottery number fell badly for you, you could be way, way back. Being short, this would suck for me. So I think there should be some benefit in arriving early, & spending your time in line. So I'd propose an early morning lottery, 7-8am, for the couple of hundred people there. Everyone who arrives early would still get a good spot, but the best spots will go to different people for each show. Anyone arriving after the lottery just joins the back of the line. If the venue doesn't want queuing until 2pm, wristband people, numbered, & different colours for those in the lottery & those who arrived after. Some work, but a fairer system.

I really like this idea.  From what I understand, there are usually only a few hundred people there early in the morning for most shows.  Allow lineup to begin at 7:00.  Do the lottery at 8:00 and give out 400 numbered wristbands to those people.  Everyone arriving after that gets a numbered wristband as they arrive, starting with #401 and is told to come back at 2:00 PM.  Maybe for arena shows you do the lottery for the first 200 people.   I don't really see a downside to this procedure.

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Ultimately, I just don't think it's right that there's a scenario where the following happens:

-Venue says no one can show up before 8am
-I show up just before 8am
-I'm only one of a handful of people there, but I'm told that there are actually hundreds of people in front of me, even though they're not there
-I wait in line all day
-People keep showing up and saying they had stopped by earlier, so actually they're in front of me
-Even though I showed up at the time specified by the venue and was only one of a handful of people there and didn't leave after arriving, I'm actually #500 to enter.

That's not right. 

Taking names and numbering people makes sense.  Allowing them frequent and lengthy absences from the premises does not.  I'm totally cool with getting to know your neighbors, and having them hold your spot so you can use the bathroom, smoke a cigarette, or pick up some food to bring back to the line.

I'm not OK with the idea that someone can "check in" two days ahead of time and then magically be first in line without having waited two days.  Even if they have to "check in" once a day, that's still not right.  Waiting in line means... waiting in line.  The check-in system, in my experience, favors fans who travel from city to city, while putting local fans at a disadvantage.  For instance, take the upcoming MetLife shows in NJ.  The stadium is in an industrial area off a highway that's not readily accessible via public transportation except on days of events.  Parking lots are closed until the day of the event.  However, there is a hotel on the property.  So this means that those traveling fans can book a hotel room there, walk to the front of the stadium gates, declare themselves "first" and then go back to their room and have a good night's sleep.  People that live in the area can't just do the same - as a local NYC resident, there's no way for me to get to the stadium when there isn't something happening there.  If I rented a car and tried to park it there days ahead of time, I'd likely be arrested for trespassing and get my vehicle towed.  But I'm sure it's relatively easy for someone staying at the hotel on the property to sneak over and declare that they're first.  How is that right?

In the end, with this current fan run system, the people at the front of the line aren't the people willing to wait the longest.  They're the people with the deepest pockets who can afford to take time off from work and travel from city to city, and who can do things like staying in hotels on venue property to skirt the rules and gain access to areas that local residents have no chance at getting to.  This is exactly the reason that U2 switched from a fan-regulated line in 2001 to randomized "inner circle" admission in 2005.

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6 hours ago, vertigojds said:

-Venue says no one can show up before 8am
-I show up just before 8am
-I'm only one of a handful of people there, but I'm told that there are actually hundreds of people in front of me, even though they're not there
-I wait in line all day
-People keep showing up and saying they had stopped by earlier, so actually they're in front of me
-Even though I showed up at the time specified by the venue and was only one of a handful of people there and didn't leave after arriving, I'm actually #500 to enter.

That's not right.

The part that bothers me about this scenario is that if you don't happen to know who's running the "official unofficial line" then how are you supposed to know otherwise?

Exactly as you are saying, if the instructions from the venue are, show up at 8am day of, and you have no idea that a check-in system even exists, why on Earth would you be expected to give up your spot to people that aren't on premises?

Interesting aside when it comes to queuing: I stopped by a Target the day that the new Nintendo released to see if maybe they had one available for my son. I honestly didn't expect to get one but it was on my way to work and it was right at opening, so I pulled in. I saw a line of probably 50 people and turned around because I thought, "nope, too late!" No big deal, didn't think it was going to happen anyway.

Manager sees me and asks if I'm there for the Nintendo, and I say yeah, but I don't want to wait in line only for them to sell out, I'll try my luck another time. He hands me a ticket with the #50 on it and says, you got the last one. Sweet. I wait with my number.

The line starts moving and I'm getting closer to pay for it, when a guy approaches me with a frantic look on his face. He tells me that he had gotten there 6 hours before opening but had forgotten his wallet and had to leave to go and get it. His story was corroborated by a few other people in line and even the store manager. He then asked me if I would kindly give up my number so he could have the item that he had waited 6 hours for. I looked him square in the eyes and said, "I'm very sorry, that sounds like terrible luck, but I'm here now. Why would it be fair for me to leave empty-handed?" The guy wasn't rude and he left it at that and I purchased the Nintendo for my son (who loves it btw!).

The point of all that is, I was there, I was in line, I followed the rules. Why would it have been fair for that guy to buy a unit, when I hadn't done anything wrong? Why would it have been fair for him to self-appoint himself as the line police on some obscure blog/Twitter/Facebook? Venues need to hand out wristbands first come, first serve and then send people home. Even better, let us log in to TM or the venue site and register for a GA# from home, print it at home and bring it to the show for your line #. Don't have one when you show up at the venue, you're assigned a # based on the already registered #'s. It's advertised and official. Done.

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13 hours ago, Synj said:

Exactly as you are saying, if the instructions from the venue are, show up at 8am day of, and you have no idea that a check-in system even exists, why on Earth would you be expected to give up your spot to people that aren't on premises?

Exactly.

I was worried I was coming off like a crazy person, and I can't tell you what a relief it is to know I'm not the only one that feels this way.

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U2gigs.com just posted a twitter picture of someone in line at Philadelphia and a sign for fan "rules".  All you have to do is show up for 1 minute this morning and 1 minute this night, and then you can show up tomorrow and be ahead of everyone else.  I don't see how that's right.  Someone willing to show up at 5am tomorrow morning and wait all day should not be told that hundreds of people who aren't there waiting are magically ahead of them.

I really wish someone would put a stop to this nonsense.

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