Ashley Munson said she isn’t a big fan of public events or large crowds, but even she couldn’t resist the pull of a Beyonce concert at Soldier Field this summer.
A half day after the singer became the greatest Grammy winner in history with 32 awards, Munson was one of the lucky legion of fans able to score tickets to Beyonce’s highly anticipated Renaissance World Tour when it comes to Soldier Field for two days in July.
Ticket sales to Beyonce’s first tour in six years have been hotly discussed on social media in the days leading up to staggered sales of seats in Chicago, the United Kingdom, Sweden and other venues.
To get tickets into the hands of fans and not brokerages, ticket seekers were required to pre-register for a lottery system on verified fan websites in a process that closed last week.
“I registered at the end of last week and I didn’t think twice,” said Munson, of Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood. “I’m like, maybe I get it. Maybe I won’t.”
Over the weekend, those who registered waited for notification that they had been chosen. For Munson, that moment came at 2:30 p.m. Monday, when she received a text saying she would be able to buy a ticket to the singer’s July 22 concert.
Mindful of the Ticketmaster debacle involving Taylor Swift last November, where fans weren’t able to purchase tickets on the website, as well as online complaints by ticket seekers saying they were having login problems on smartphones, Munson said she grabbed her laptop and bought what was easily the most expensive concert ticket she’d ever purchased.
“I hopped on my computer, picked a seat and called it a day,” said Munson, 31, who works in community engagement and government affairs with the Obama Foundation. “I was kind of shocked. I never thought I would be picked from the lottery, let alone be able to purchase a really good ticket.”
Last week, Ticketmaster announced the registration process for ordering tickets while also warning that “fan demand already exceeds the number of tickets available by more than 800% based on the registration numbers” in the cities where the tour is scheduled.
If access to tickets for the tour was one hot topic, surely another was the price of the tickets themselves. Ticket brokers began offering tickets priced between $875 and $7,000 to be near the stage. Ticket prices were a big topic on urban radio stations such as Power 106.3-FM. On air and on sites, including Twitter and Facebook, fans lamented not being chosen, or discussed the absurd cost of tickets.
Munson wouldn’t say exactly how much she spent on her ticket, but said she paid nowhere near the high estimates posted by ticket firms. “I’ve (traveled) out of the country more than two handfuls, so I’ve definitely paid for trips and vacations. But like a single item? It’s absolutely (the most I’ve ever spent).”
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The Wall Street Journal suggested the Ticketmaster incident involving Swift likely galvanized Beyonce’s most hardcore fans, known as the “Bey Hive.”
Once tickets were sold, a number of social media users began offering up their tickets for high prices. Munson said she had a brief moment where she considered selling her ticket for a profit, but the thought quickly faded.
“I would only sell if I had something come up that was more of a priority; that and I really don’t like big crowds of people,” she said. “It’s a thought, but I’ll probably keep my ticket and go.”
Munson added she considers herself privileged to see one of her favorite singers at the peak of her career, though she said she’s not part of Beyonce’s “hive.”
“I think Beyonce’s last album was amazing. I’m not a Bey Hiver, but I literally probably know every Beyonce song, so I don’t know what that makes me.”