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Concert sells out in hours

Bridget Keating | Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Only the luckiest students landed Ben Folds tickets last Thursday for the sold-out Nov. 10 show at the Stepan Center.

Student Union Board (SUB) reported the 1,800 tickets sold out in eight and a half hours.

More than 300 Ben Folds faithful arrived as early as 5 a.m. Thursday morning – four hours before the 9 a.m. box office opening.

To handle the volume of traffic, SUB successfully snaked the patient students throughout LaFortune, winding the line up and down stairwells and through the second floor.

Concert programmer Chris Lund said half of the tickets were sold in the first 90 minutes.

“We knew Ben Folds was extremely popular at Notre Dame and we were confident we would sell out before Nov. 10,” Lund said, “but there is no way we predicted the positive response we got with the immediate sell-out.”

The sky-high demand had students wondering why the event was not held in a larger campus venue, such as the Joyce Center.

Budgetary constraints, Lund said, prevent SUB from being able to cover the significant cost increase of relocating the concert relocation to the Joyce Center.

With Stepan as the best possible option, SUB has worked with Notre Dame Security/Police and Risk Management to increase capacity from 1,500 to 1,800, Lund said. The success of last year’s Stepan concerts, including Better Than Ezra and Pat Green, has SUB members hopeful for another great turnout.

Lund credits The Leftover Production Co. for “maximizing the acoustics and making sure the music sounds as great live as it does on a CD.”

“This group produced a past Billy Joel concert at Stepan Center,” he said, “and reports that it is a great venue for a pianist-vocalist such as Ben Folds.”

What most students will not see is the hard work behind the scenes.

“We are grateful to concert programmers Chris Lund and Matt Larew who have worked incredibly hard to make this show happen,” said SUB manager Patrick Vassel, who also thanked the staff of LaFortune Box Office for keeping the ticket line moving last Thursday.

Approximately 80 SUB members will join the crew at Stepan on Nov. 10 to unload trucks, set up equipment, prepare the artists’ green room and assist the professional technical staff.

“SUB has made significant efforts to bring an artist of this caliber to Notre Dame and this is another big step forward,” Vassel said. “We are very excited to offer students low cost tickets at $15 and [are] happy with the positive response.”