How to get in when it says `sold out'

Sometimes tickets turn up online or in line


Clubs / Bars / Nightlife

April 28, 2005|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,SUN STAFF


These two short words, when placed next to the name of a band on a venue schedule, cause anguish for live-music enthusiasts, particularly for those who find out about shows late.

But just because a performance has sold out doesn't mean you can't get in. As Ottobar co-owner Brian DeRan says, when it come to seeing a band: "There always seems to be a way to get in."

The hunt for scarce tickets should begin in the same place much good research starts - the Internet.

Extra tickets to local shows are often posted on the Baltimore pages of (

Craigslist works much like newspaper classified ads. Buyers are usually private citizens trying to unload personal items for a stated price.

There is a section of Craigslist dedicated to tickets. Ravens and Orioles tickets tend to dominate, but recently there were multiple postings selling tickets to the sold-out Interpol show at Sonar. (Check the Washington section of Craigslist for tickets to the often sold-out 9:30 Club shows.)

Another option, particularly for the bigger blockbuster shows at Merriweather Post Pavilion or the Patriot Center, is the auction site

Be aware that eBay's policy suggests it is legal to sell tickets for above face value in Maryland - but this is not always true.

Each Maryland jurisdiction sets the rules on reselling tickets. And for shows in Baltimore City, it is illegal to sell a ticket over the face value, said Steve Silverman, a sports and entertainment lawyer.

Silverman said some sellers, in an attempt to circumvent such anti-scalping laws, sometimes hold pricey auctions on such items as T-shirts, which happen to come with a "free" set of concert or sporting event tickets. This trick isn't likely to fool the authorities, said Silverman.

Scouring the Internet for extra concert tickets assumes that you've got a few days before the event - since in most cases the tickets will be mailed to you.

Those who realize they need extra tickets close to the day of the event should just show up at the venue with extra cash.

Often there will be people working the lines whispering "tickets, tickets." (Again, in Baltimore, this is OK only if the seller is not charging more than the face value of the ticket. However, Orioles and Ravens tickets can't be sold at all within a mile of the stadium.)

Some venues will sell tickets left at the Will Call booth after the headliner starts. Not all places do this, so call and check beforehand.

Finally, and we're not recommending this, some desperate concertgoers do try to gain entry to clubs without tickets at all.

DeRan, a co-owner of the Ottobar, said one woman recently mentioned his name to a new doorman and got into a sold-out Ottobar show with six friends. "They just rolled right in," he said.

He has seen the ticketless attempt to befriend the band outside a club, hoping to become part of the entourage. And of course, some scammers claim they're "with the band" to try to get in for free.

DeRan acknowledged that ruses occasionally work, but he added that the perpetrators are likely to be escorted out of the club by one or more burly bouncers - and never allowed back in.

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