As rumours swirled about Drake’s surprise appearance last Friday, tickets for the RSU’s Parade and Concert got snatched up fast. Shortages prompted scalping and markups of up to 11 times the original price of guest tickets.
For the first year, the RSU event was organized in collaboration with George Brown College. The two schools have more than 60,000 full-time students between them, but safety and space concerns at the Gould Street location forced organizers to limit tickets to about 7,500.
Tickets were free for Ryerson and George Brown students and $10 for guests, alumni and part-time students. After they ran out, students began reaching out on social media to secure their spot at the Sept. 11 concert.
— Kwaku Agyemang™ (@KwakuOnAir) September 10, 2015
Others were just generally angry at the shortage.
Ryerson students are bright selling tickets they got for free for like $100 #kmt
— Susanne Nyaga (@susanne_nn) September 11, 2015
The RSU had set wristband pickup times on campus last Wednesday and Thursday, as well as an additional pickup window on Friday morning.
RSU president Andrea Bartlett says students who missed the opportunity to pick up their paid wristbands should be refunded by Sunday.
Second-year politics and governance student Pedram Faramarzi said he couldn’t get his hands on tickets because the resale price was too expensive. He said he found one student who wanted $150 for a pair of tickets.
“I’m a really big fan and I really enjoy (Drake’s) music, but it just didn’t seem worth it to see him from far away for like eight minutes,” Faramarzi said.
Other students capitalized on the shortage as hype about a possible Drake appearance built.
Aaron Bowes, a third-year graphics communication management student, sold an extra ticket, purchased for $10, to another Ryerson student for 11 times the original price. Even though he’s a Ryerson student, he had to pay for a guest ticket the day of the show after free student passes sold out. He also purchased an extra ticket with the intention of selling it on Kijiji.
“I probably should have bought more (tickets) since there was such high demand for them,” he said.
Bowes’s original Kijiji listing asked for $70 for the pass. After receiving dozens of offers throughout the day, he raised the price and ended up selling the ticket for $110.
The decision to change the location of the event put limitations on how many people could attend. The concert was held on Gould Street for the first time instead of at the Toronto Islands like in previous years.
Rachel Grace, the director of campus life at George Brown, said that safety was her main concern when planning the event.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience and willingness to participate, but we’ve done the best we could to fit as many people as we could,” she said before the concert.
Bartlett said that ticket scalping is something that the RSU will keep in mind when planning future events.
“Our concern is that this is an event for Ryerson students. Obviously it was concerning to the executive (committee) when we heard that Ryerson students had to pay a lot of money for a concert that ideally in past years was free for people who wanted to attend,” she said.
The concert’s lineup featured performances by P Reign, Zeds Dead and Future, with a special appearance by Drake and city councillor/Twitter celebrity Norm Kelly. Singer Miguel was also supposed to perform, but cancelled his set.