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Elusive Tragically Hip keep fans guessing

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Dade Moss knows Tragically Hip tickets would be a perfect Father’s Day gift for his dad but, like thousands of others, he is disappointed.

Moss tried for 20 minutes to buy tickets online the day they went on sale, only to see the site quickly crash.Dade Moss

“No one I know got tickets although many tried,” said the 18-year-old Sarnia man. “We deserve a voice. The fans need to rise up.”

Moss is a university student working at a French fry shop in Point Edward this summer. He had planned to buy tickets at face value so his dad, Brandon Moss, could see his favourite band on The Hip’s final tour.

“My father is one of their biggest fans,” he said. “I know there are still tickets out there but I can’t afford them.”

Like many Canadians, Moss is angry that the secondary ticket market scooped up many of the concert tickets. Ticket brokers use bots to buy thousands of tickets in minutes, then double, triple, and even quadruple the price on sites like StubHub and Kijiji.

Moss wrote a letter of protest to the band and singer Gord Downie, explaining how he hoped he and his dad could experience a concert together. He hasn’t heard back.

Fans have been complaining to Mary Anne and Roland Peloza since the tickets went on sale June 3.

The Pelozas, who own The Cheeky Monkey, an independent music store on Christina Street, say they hear similar complaints about many concert tours.

“But this is really bringing it to the forefront because of Gord’s situation,” said Mary Anne Peloza. It was recently announced that Downie has incurable brain cancer.

“I call it illegal gouging. So many people want to go and so many people are upset,” she said.

“The Hip is integral to the Canadian music scene and they cross generations,” said Roland Peloza. “The fact is that there are millions who want to see The Hip on this tour and there are only something like 250,000 seats. I’ve done the math.”

The couple also failed to get tickets online before the site crashed.

The band hasn’t said anything officially about the secondary market mark-up, but did add tour dates after the controversy broke.

Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur has said her office is consulting industry experts to see how the law might protect consumers from inflated ticket prices.

Some jurisdictions cap prices above the face value a ticket can be sold for, but not Ontario.

Others are urging a ban on the bots brokers use to buy large blocks of seats.

The Pelozas say The Hip’s new album being released Friday is drumming up lots of speculation. The fourth track of Man Machine Poem is called In Sarnia.

“No one knows what the song says about Sarnia, if it’s positive or not,” said Roland Peloza.

“Songwriters are funny though. Gord Downie used Bobcaygeon in his song because it rhymes with constellation. You never know why he chose to call his song In Sarnia.”

The Tragically Hip’s connection with the city goes back to the 1980s when the band played at the former Campbell Street Station.

They returned in 2002, 2004 and 2011 to perform at Bayfest, and Gord Downie was here with The Sadies in 2014 as the headliner of the Festival of Good Things.

The Cheeky Monkey has pre-ordered four times the normal volume for a new release.

“Radiohead is coming out with a new album the same day and normally Radiohead would be the big kahuna,” said Roland.

“But, because of Gordie and this being their last tour, we’re getting far more requests for The Hip.”

Mary Ann and Roland Peloza of The Cheeky Monkey record store. Cathy Dobson
Mary Ann and Roland Peloza of The Cheeky Monkey record store. Cathy Dobson

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