Rash of fake tickets plagues Outside Lands festival
Updated 12:28 pm, Saturday, August 9, 2014
There were tears. So many tears. Tens of thousands of people streamed into the west end of Golden Gate Park on Friday afternoon for the kickoff of the seventh annual Outside Lands festival - many only to be turned away at the entrance gates after learning they had purchased counterfeit tickets.
"I can't believe it," said Elizabeth Cassidy, 23, of Southern California, wearing a flower crown and wiping her cheek. In her hand, she held what appeared to be an official Ticketmaster issued voucher with the word "VOID" scrawled across it in red ink. "It looked totally real. The guy who sold it to me even said he would even walk me in."
San Francisco police said they seized hundreds of the expertly forged passes to the giant three-day music festival, many from groups of scalpers who worked the perimeter of the park, charging up to $1,000 for the fakes.
There was certainly enough demand. With high-profile headliners Kanye West, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Killers, who close out the festival on Sunday, the real tickets for this year's concert -- ranging in price from $115 to $595 - sold out in just 24 hours.
That didn't stop everyone from trying to get in. Officers from the nearby Richmond station said they handed out dozens of citations to people either jumping the fences or charging through the gates.
As many as 200,000 actual ticket holders are expected to attend Outside Lands over the weekend, according to the concert's co-promoters, Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly Presents. This year's festival features more than 100 acts performing across seven stages, as well as 70 local food vendors, 36 wineries, 16 breweries and countless corporate sponsored tents and activities, including a pop-up Heineken dance music club, Esquire Network barbershop and a culinary themed lounge co-curated by Chefs Feed.
Festival highlights on Friday included a mid-afternoon set of sophisticated country-pop from Grammy nominee Kacey Musgraves, contemporary disco from beardy Canadian duo Chromeo and boisterous British guitar rock from the Arctic Monkeys, who played opposite West's massive ego show on the main stage.
The organizers ramped up security all around this year, installing surveillance cameras, hiring additional officers and re-routing paths in and out of the festival grounds after reports of three sexual assaults in 2012.
They also called on extra tow trucks and parking control officers to keep neighbors' driveways clear and hand out $110 tickets to people double-parked along Fulton and Lincoln streets, which swarmed with buses, taxis and a variety of car services.
Citing a surge in ride requests, Uber jacked its prices up to five times the normal rate, sending users a message that referenced several West song titles: "Bound 2 be high demand ... So wait until it all falls down."
Apart from the usual round of complaints - litter on the streets, public urination and attendees trying to sneak in booze - police reported no major incidents. The weather seemed to cooperate as well, with the fog clearing out by mid-afternoon to let the sun shine through.
There was some compensation for those who didn't make it inside Outside Lands. Residents from neighborhoods as far away as Pacific Heights, the Castro and Noe Valley claimed they could hear the concert just fine from their living rooms.