It took just two days for Atlantic City to give away 120,000 tickets to two free summer beach concerts featuring major country acts Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum.
But in reality, the tickets were gone in minutes, leaving many fans disappointed.
Shelton is scheduled to play the resort’s beach on July 31 and Lady Antebellum follows August 3. Fans were limited to one pair of tickets each.
Some tickets were given away online through the city’s marketing website DoAtlantic City.com last week. But the bulk of the tickets were given away a few days later through Ticketmaster and took only 30 minutes to run out.
The interest thrilled operators, including the Atlantic City Alliance, the resort’s casino-funded marketing arm which is sponsoring the concert.
“Getting people talking about Atlantic City this early in the season and getting them to make plans to come to Atlantic City this early in the season is absolutely important,” Jeff Guaracino, the alliance’s chief communications and strategy officer told the local Press of Atlantic City. “It’s terrific, so I’m very excited. We’re accomplishing our goal.”
Though the city has a history of free beach concerts that did not require tickets—such as a 1983 July 4th Beach Boys Concert that brought out an estimated 300,000 people—officials said modern security problems required them to limit tickets.
“Public safety officials have taken a markedly different approach,” Guaracino told the Press. “Look at the Boston Marathon, look at Boardwalk Hall. There are certain things that used to happen that are being deemed not such a good idea these days.”
Guaracino added that “the artists themselves, and Live Nation—the promoter of the two shows—also have their own requirements, in terms of access and public safety.”
The concerts will also take place adjacent to The Pier at Caesars, with that pier as a natural back wall.
“There are only so many people who can fit on the beach,” Guaracino added.
Reports have also surfaced that the free tickets are already being sold online, but Guaracino said the actual tickets won’t be sent out to fans for several weeks and buyers should beware of the authenticity of anything offered online.