Kokua Fest sells out in minutes, leaving fans at a loss
Fueled by the double bill of Dave Matthews and Hawaii's Jack Johnson, tickets to this year's Kokua Festival sold out in 20 minutes Saturday, leaving would-be concert-goers facing inflated online prices.
While the festival has always sold out in previous years, this year's added attraction of Matthews upped the demand on the first day of sales.
A survey of listings on the Internet for the April 19 and 20 festival showed a group of four tickets in the Waikiki Shell's pool area going for $665 a piece on Ticketmaster's ticket exchange site; and on eBay, lawn tickets from $102 to $350, and four pool-area seats for a total of $1,339. Ticket broker Todd's Tickets is offering lawn tickets from $233 to $301, reserved terrace seating for $315 to $559, and the pool area for $455 to $1,050.
Original prices were $40 to $125 for the concert that benefit's Johnson's Kokua Hawaii Foundation.
Problems getting onto the Ticketmaster Web site at the appointed starting time of 9 a.m. Saturday raised suspicions that tickets were being snapped up by mainland buyers.
Weston Yap of Kaimuki said that he and two groups of friends couldn't get onto the site for two hours. "I thought the festival was about getting local people to learn to be environmentally responsible, and supporting local sustainability. It's all Hawaii-oriented. It's not like I want to exclude people from the mainland ... but isn't this about trying to reach people who impact our environment? It'd be a shame if the people of Hawaii couldn't get in."
Sid Quintal, director of the city's Department of Enterprise Services, wouldn't reveal the amount of the Blaisdell Center box office's ticket allotment. "As with any real popular concert, the ticket sales go off the charts."
Tom Chauncey, who represents Johnson as president and owner of Partisan Arts, plans to issue a statement later today.