This time-honored tradition of attempting to cop tickets to a Grateful Dead show, hopefully by way of kindness (free) or barter (marijuana goo balls, hemp necklaces, hugs), doesn’t look like it’s gonna cut it for the legendary jam band’s final run of shows, which take place over the Fourth of July in Chicago.
Three-day passes for the Fare Thee Well festival, which sold out in just an hour over the weekend, are now on StubHub for a face-melting $114,000. Those wanting to get into Soldier Field and dance their funky white boy dances while coughing on green bud are gonna need to cough up some serious green.
With Phish frontman Trey Anastasio filling in for, and hopefully channeling, deceased Dead leader Jerry Garcia for the run, which doubles as the 50th anniversary celebration for the psychedelic pioneers, 60,000 devoted Deadheads sent in a tidal wave of brightly colored envelopes desperately seeking pre-sale tickets.
This number was dwarfed by the half a million hopefuls who reportedly queued up online over the weekend, when Ticketmaster officially released tickets. Now that they’re sold out, it’s a seller’s market, and it looks like it’s time to shake down the band’s fans for every last nostalgic penny.
“This is fucking nuts,” Dead 50 producer Peter Shapiro told Billboard over the weekend from his son’s soccer game, as he received updates on the digital lineup from Ticketmaster and fellow promoters.
All in all, some 210,000 were sold, at face values of between around $59 and $200 each. Not a bad markup for scalpers, it would appear, with 738 listings on StubHub as of Monday morning. One person with high hopes—or, more likely, who was actually high—even reportedly listed his or her seats for resale at $1 million, though the listing is now gone.
Announced in January, the Fare Thee Well birthday / goodbye run will feature the surviving original members of the psychedelic pioneers, with special guests including Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti, keyboardist for Dead side projects RatDog and Furthur. Soldier Field is the site of the final time the Dead played together as a complete band, in July 1995. Garcia died just a month later of a heart attack.
For fans of the Dead who, for whatever reason, can’t stomach a six-figure ticket price, don’t worry: There are plenty of seats available for a much more reasonable, yet still profiteering, $1,349. One caveat: The notes on the “cheap seats” say they offer “no view.” Which will be just fine if you plan on spending the weekend freaking out on your hands anyway.