Dylan Saves The Industry

With all of the discussion on how to navigate scalping, fees and other ticketing issues, leave it to a music veteran to not only provide an answer but to implement it.

When Bob Dylan plays in San Francisco Aug. 25, it may be nothing more than a novel event – or it could be a model that could establish a healthy precedent for the industry.

Dylan will implement a system when he plays the 2,250-capacity Warfield, one that will likely remove much of the ugliness of ticketing. It will:

1) Eliminate, or severely reduce, scalping and the influence of the secondary market.
2) Eliminate credit card fees.
3) Eliminate surcharges.

How will he do this? Will it be with laser scanners and paperless ticketing? By requiring patrons to provide ID upon entering the building? By placing UPC codes on their foreheads?

No. Dylan is going back to the Stone Age. All tickets will be general admission and will be available at the Warfield box office day of show. There will be no advance tickets available anywhere. Admission is $60 cash. No credit cards or checks will be accepted. Ticketholders will enter the venue at the time of purchase, one ticket per customer. Lineups begin no earlier than noon. Box office and doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show.

“Given the state of touring and how fees have escalated, it was a real breath of fresh air to do something very consumer oriented by eliminating all ticketing charges,” Goldenvoice SF’s David Lefkowitz said in a statement. “It’s almost a throwback to another time.”

Of course, this could be a logistical nightmare, and security will need to be diligent considering the amount of cash on hand. But if things go smoothly, there is a strong possibility patrons will be happy with this system – at least happy enough to not complain about it online the next morning.

Goldenvoice could not comment further on the show. The promotion company said this show is the brainchild of “Bob’s people” and, at press time, Pollstar was not able to get comment from taciturn manager Jeff Kramer, and Dylan’s agent at CAA declined to comment.

However, at least one source told Pollstar that, yes, much like when the Eagles experimented with price points at Arco Arena in Sacramento, this is very much an event that “people will be looking at.”