La Scena Musicale

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Approach to Popular Free Events - First Come First Serve

The January 12th 90-minuteToronto Memorial concert for Oscar Peterson, titled "Simply the Best," will be open to the public free on a first come basis beginning at 3 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall. According to the Toronto Star, the organizers decided NOT to issue tickets in order to foil scalpers, as had happened in New York for the Beverley Sills memorial, and to avoid empty seats due to ticket holders not showing up, as in the case of the Richard Bradshaw memorial in Toronto.

It's a strategic decision meant to avoid the negative consequences of ticketed free events.

For example, many of those who lined up for free tickets to the Richard Bradshaw tribute at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts did not turn up for the concert. The result: empty seats, despite the fact there were thousands of disappointed opera lovers who couldn't get tickets.

Another pitfall became apparent at the Lincoln Center memorial event for Beverly Sills, the queen of New York opera. The lineup for tickets started at 5:30 a.m. Even though they were free, scalpers had a good day pocketing money from fans who arrived after all the tickets had been given away.

There are approximately 2,500 seats at Roy Thomson Hall. About 200 will be reserved for VIP guests. It's open season on the other 2,300 seats.

CBC Radio One will broadcast the concert live at 4 p.m. while Radio Two will rebroadcast it at 8 p.m. Performers will include Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, and the University of Toronto Gospel Choir, as well as Measha Brueggergosman.

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