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Tragically Hip tickets sell out in minutes

Many Tragically Hip fans were left empty-handed Friday as tickets for the band’s upcoming summer concerts sold out almost immediately.
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People gather outside Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on Friday, June 3, 2016, in hopes of getting tickets to the July 22 Tragically Hip show in Victoria.

Many Tragically Hip fans were left empty-handed Friday as tickets for the band’s upcoming summer concerts sold out almost immediately.

Within minutes after the start of the public sale, it appeared that all available tickets for three arena shows at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre — which has an advertised capacity of 19,800 for each concert — had been snapped up, along with dates in Hamilton and the band’s final stop in Kingston, Ont.

Tickets in Victoria disappeared as soon as they were available. Many hopefuls in Victoria never made it past the virtual waiting room at selectyourtickets.com, the arena’s in-house ticketing service. Prior to the 10 a.m. sale time, the site was overrun with traffic, prompting on occasion a message that said it was “having network or application issues.”

By 10:30 a.m., the ticket window was officially closed, and the site was reporting there was no inventory available.

“The show was sold out effectively within 30 seconds, but it took about 20 minutes to get everybody processed,” said Dave Dakers, president of RG Sports and Entertainment, which operates the arena.

Secondary ticketing site stubhub.com was showing seats for the Victoria concert selling soon after for $1,500 US a pair, well beyond the original $140 asking price.

Regular-priced tickets may become available in the weeks ahead, Dakers said.

“Production holds will be released as we go. No one knows what exactly the show is going to look like, so the people who didn’t get tickets should see notices posted on our Twitter and Facebook pages.”

The Victoria show on July 22, with a capacity of about 6,000, is the smallest venue on the tour. This tour is widely expected to be the final one for the iconic Canadian band, given lead singer Gord Downie’s diagnosis of incurable brain cancer.

Disappointed fans took to social media to express their suspicion that a large portion of the tickets were bought by resellers hoping to capitalize on the intense interest.

“Hope the scalpers have a great time at the Tragically Hip shows,” David Kennedy wrote on Twitter.

Not everyone was shut out of tickets, though, and fans who chose the old-fashioned approach — lining up at Ticketmaster outlets — seemed to have greater success.

Emily Plunkett was one of the fortunate ones who stood outside the ticket booth at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa where a small group of fans waited all night.

All of them were able to secure tickets, she said.

Less than half an hour after the public sale began for the Toronto shows, more than 2,500 tickets were listed for marked-up prices on StubHub. More than 70 tickets to the Victoria show were available on the same site.

— With files from The Canadian Press