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The Boss: How to Get a Hot Ticket

More than 13,000 tickets to Bruce Springsteen's March 6 concert at the Richmond Coliseum sold in less than an hour. Richmonders don't usually have to worry about events selling out, but with the Coliseum's push for bigger acts, we may have to start. So what is the best strategy for getting a ticket?

For Matt Bracken, a legal assistant at McGuireWoods LLP, the Coliseum box office worked, although not as well as he hoped. "The box office said the lottery would close at 9," Bracken explained. "But they kept it open until 9:30, and there were a ton of newcomers. By the time it got to me, there were only two tickets available per person." Bracken noticed many in line using cell phones to try to reach Ticketmaster as well, but "no one was getting through at all." Bracken feels the Coliseum's multiple ticket windows helped his chances. He estimates 90 to 100 were in line at the Coliseum, and "everybody got tickets." An employee at the Gayton Crossing Ukrop's estimated only 10 to 15 people got tickets there before the show sold out.

So is going to the venue's box office the best approach? Vicki Garrison, marketing manager for the Richmond Coliseum, doesn't think so. "That's kind of a misconception," she says. "We don't have a separate block of tickets." Garrison admits the demand for Springsteen tickets did involve some maneuvering on the Coliseum's part. "For that event, we decided, based on how fast tickets were selling, to reduce the max to two, so that every one in line would get tickets. That's not a policy; that was us trying to help people out. " Garrison feels "there is no best way" to obtain a very hot ticket. "Maybe the best way is to coordinate," she suggests. "To try from several angles. People do that - they'll have one person on line, one using a cell phone and one at home on the computer."

This reporter's strategy involved calling Ticketmaster while in New Jersey, probably a lucky break since it was nearly impossible to get through in Richmond. But be forewarned: Phone and Internet access to tickets can be localized at Ticketmaster's discretion. Meaning, if you call Ticketmaster in another state because the lines here are busy, or if you log onto the Internet here to try to get tickets to see Springsteen elsewhere, you could be out of luck. Take it from someone who tried. — Andy Garrigue

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