The days of tons of free concert tickets for the Orange County Fair Board are over – sort of – following a recent policy change reducing the number of tickets allocated for board members for shows at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Southern California.
While a recommendation was made for the board to reduce the standard amount of courtesy tickets from 26 to six per show, members of the board voted unanimously to allot 10 free tickets per show, according to the Orange County Register. Members will also be allowed to purchase up to six extra tickets at face value in a special pre-sale program.
The board has faced repeated warnings in recent years regarding its free ticket policy from state regulators, who reportedly found that members were doling out double or triple the ducats than the state-recommended guidelines.
Over the last two years, about $376,000 in free tickets were given to board members for shows at the Pacific Amphitheatre that featured artists including Bob Dylan, Fergie and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the paper said.
Fair directors reportedly took 247 free tickets for the Pacific Amphitheatre’s orchestra section for a recent LeAnn Rimes concert.
It apparently became common practice for some members to pass off the freebies to friends, colleagues, political figures and charities, despite the shed’s summer concert series languishing in the red in recent years, according to state revenue reports obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
In addition to the free concert tickets, the board has also received thousands of free fair admissions and parking vouchers, which reportedly hiked the freebie amount to more than $900,000 over the last five years.
According to state guidelines, the total amount of fair comps cannot exceed 4 percent of the fair’s gross proceeds from the previous year, the Times reported.