Tragically Hip fans upset over ticket sellouts to farewell summer tour

June 06, 2016

It’s rare that you know in advance that your favourite band’s upcoming tour is likely their last. For Tragically Hip fans, that’s a current reality. A couple weeks ago, when the band announced lead singer Gord Downie was diagnosed last December with terminal brain cancer, they also revealed, to only a tiny bit of surprise, that they’d do at least one more tour for their upcoming record Man Machine Poem. “What we in The Hip receive, each time we play together, is a connection; with each other; with music and it’s magic; and during the shows, a special connection with all of you, our incredible fans,” their statement read. “So, we’re going to dig deep, and try to make this our best tour yet.”

What that more or less created, for millions of Canadians, was a perfect storm of anxiety about getting tickets. Thankfully, there was a fan pre-sale! Unfortunately, tickets for that pre-sale seemed to vanish instantly. Within minutes, they resurfaced on ticket resale sites like StubHub, leading to accusations that Ticketmaster might have handed tickets over to them directly, or that they had all been scooped up by bots. The prices on these resale sites have skyrocketed to ridiculous prices, the highest of which that’s been reported is $5,999. For context, the most expensive official seats for the band’s Toronto dates were listed at $166. The Hip released more dates immediately, but those were gone in a similar fashion during another fan pre-sale the next day. When tickets went on sale to the general public a few days later, it was the same story. Fans have been understandably irate at the process, Ticketmaster, and the resale sites, with some of the latter even apparently selling tickets for parts of arenas that won’t be open during the shows. Ontario attorney general Madeleine Meilleur is even considering an inquiry into the whole terrible mess. Now scalpers even have an entire dedicated site to re-selling tickets:

For longtime fans of the band—and Hip fans are among the most vehemently devoted—the whole ordeal is a heartbreaker. While scalping is inevitable, this one hurts extra. It’d be a shame for so many to lose out on spending one last night with the artist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently called, “an extraordinary creative Canadian force and icon” all in the name of making a (lot of extra) bucks. Good luck to all those still working on finding some tickets.


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About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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