The doors to Squires Student Center opened yesterday to a slew of fans hoping to land the best possible seats to this year’s homecoming concert, featuring hip-hop artists J. Cole and Wale.
But with the disparity between the doors opening at 7 a.m. and the tickets going on sale at 11 a.m., a line formed that stretched around the outdoor patio area of Squires and all the way to the campus-side entrance of the building.
But for some, the wait for tickets stretched much longer than the line.
“I got here around 5 a.m.,” said Steven Brown, a junior sustainable biomaterials major, just before he got his tickets at 11:09 a.m. “But (some) people got here at 3 a.m.”
“There were people that were here last night at like 10 p.m. waiting outside until the doors opened,” said Seth Wymer, a junior political science major who arrived at Squires at 6:45 a.m. “ People camped out all night.”
Indeed, a bivouac of students eager to earn the best seats formed as early as 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday night according to Lauren Heming, a student worker at the Division of Student Affairs ticket office. Some even attempted to set up tents, though building maintenance asked them to take them down, as a permit is required for tents to be erected on campus, according to Virginia Tech policy.
The line grew through the night, and when doors opened, the crowd surged to the ticket office.
The crowd expanded inside until a cutoff point was enacted, as the fire code could no longer support the amount of students inside. Students were directed through the front entrance of Squires, where it began to elongate around the Squires patio.
Sales progressed through the day, with many students swapping out with friends and roommates to ensure their place in line as they waited for more than two hours to reach the ticket desk.
“(I got here) a little bit before 11 a.m. — got out of class and came right over,” said Austin Anthony, a sophomore finance major. “(We) really wanted the tickets, and me and my roommates are switching off, so we’ve got a little system going on. I feel like if we all work together we can fully accomplish this goal of getting these tickets.”
According to Heming, the crowd persisted through 2 p.m. when tickets began selling online.
“There were some people who were standing in line with their computers just in case they were able to buy them online before they were able to buy them in person,” she said.
While it lulled again at 3 p.m., more rushes continued up until 5 p.m. when the ticket office closed.
“We sold our last ticket in person right before we closed our office at 5, literally at like 4:55 p.m.,” she said.
By the end of office hours, Heming said the office had brought in roughly $56,950 from in-person sales, along with $24,266 of sales online.
Yet despite the urgency with which fans attempted to purchase their tickets, the office hadn’t sold out as of 5 p.m. yesterday. Approximately 250 tickets remain unsold, though Heming says that number could change if those tickets are purchased online before the ticket office reopens today.
Heming said that the rush might be attributable to the Kevin Hart concert selling out in two and a half hours last year, so students may have been wary of tickets selling out quickly again. This year, however, students were only allowed to purchase a maximum of five tickets, compared to 10 last year.
“We let groups come up together, but each person can buy only five tickets,” she said. “I feel like if we had opened it up for people to buy more, it might have been sold out (earlier).”
Nonetheless, the tickets are distributed on a first-come first-serve basis, so early birds were able to secure the best seats for the show. People buying tickets at the office were able to pick which seats they wanted, an option not available to online purchasers.
Heming expects a similar turnout for Friday’s ticket sales for the Aziz Ansari show, though she noted that front row seats have already been accounted for as part of the VTU Lively Arts package, sold each year independent of individual shows. But still, she suggests preparing to get there early to get the best spots.
“Its still worth (camping out) because I was looking at the seating today and they’re still a lot of really good seats available, so you might as well,” she said. “I don’t know if it will be as crazy, but it will definitely be a crazy day.”