Despite numerous complaints about lack of seating and over-crowding at Tuesday night's Joni Mitchell concert, concert planners contend the event was not oversold.
However, Paul Wells, financial advisor to student groups, said, "The concert obviously was an oversell. There were no seats anywhere."
Ross Todd, the local representative promoter for Glenn Eagles, and John Trojanski, Concert Committee advisor, both said the "event was not oversold."
According to several students and faculty who attended the Mitchell concert at the Armory Fieldhouse, the crowd more than filled the area and seats were difficult to find.
"It was jam-packed and there were no seats. Why do they sell $6.50 tickets for students to stand?" demanded Cathy Jacobs, Evening College junior.
But Trojanski argued, "There were seats available. They were at the top of the Fieldhouse."
One university official estimated at least 400-500 students filled all the aisles and the rim of the floor risers.
Tom Conrad, public safety officer, said the crowd was very large and it was difficult to keep aisles clear. The show was held-up for a while because of the blocked aisles, he said.
"The blocking of aisles caused by the crowd could have been dangerous if a fire would have started," Conrad said.
Should a fire have occured [sic], Glenn Eagles Productions was responsible for "Public Liability Insurance covering bodily injury insurance in the amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurance [sic]," according to the concert contract.
"The Concert Committee security weren't able to handle the crowd so we had to step in a couple of times," said Sgt. Ed Bridgeman, campus police.
This crowd arrangement seemed to violate the concert contract which stated, "Glenn Eagles Productions, Inc. shall not admit to demised premises a larger number of persons in the capacity thereof will accommodate, or can safely or freely move about."
When asked to see the signed contract for further documentation, Trojanski replied, "What the hell do you need one for if you've already seen it?" Later Trojanski did present a copy of the signed contract, which is public information.
Ticketron outlets reported ticket sales totaled 7387. In addition, 113 complimentary tickets were given out, Ticketron reported. Trojanski, however, said 7500 tickets were sold, and a total of 250 complimentary tickets were given to the UC Concert Committee and Glenn Eagles Productions.
Trojanski also admitted at least 110 complimentary tickets were given out by UC Concert Committee to workers and friends.
This exceeds the amount stipulated in the contract which reads, "UC agrees not to issue more than 50 complimentary tickets."
Trojanski explained, "These things happen at concerts. We give out tickets to students who worked on the concert and to those who help set up and are on the hospitality committees."
A 250 reserved seat section to the left in front of the stage was roped off by Todd for friends and "VIP's" of Ross Todd Productions and the Joni Mitchell management.
Gary Penfield, dean of student groups and University programs, admitted the problems with extra complimentary tickets was "poor planning on our (concert committee's) part.
"The action to be taken now is not to let this happen at future concerts," he said.
The overcrowding occurred partly because the Joni Mitchell Management prevented the audience from sitting behind the stage, according to Todd.
"Therefore these seats couldn't be used," he said.
When asked why tickets are sold for behind the stage Trojanski replied, "The area behind the stage is one of the best places to sit."
However, Penfield said he himself would not want to sit behind the stage for a concert.
According to Mark Shoner, manager of Ticketron, the elimination of back-stage seating for which tickets had been sold left 2100 seats unavailable. He also said the total Fieldhouse seating capacity is 7800.
The 250 reserved stage front seats ordered by Todd for friends and "V.I.P.'s" of Ross Todd Productions and the Joni Mitchell management may have also contributed to the overcrowding. Those seats were not provided for in the signed contract.
"But the contract didn't say they couldn't be reserved," said Trojanski.
The people who were permitted to sit in the reserved section were identified by white arm bands. Besides media record company representatives and other "important people from the city," Todd argued only 10 other bands were given to people from the physical plant. "I gave no bands out to personal friends."
But one UC student who asked not to be identified said that while wearing a white band she was admitted into the concert free and sat in the reserved section. She said she was a personal friend of Ross Todd.
When confronted with this apparent discrepancy Todd replied, "It is difficult for me to keep track of everything that goes on within a concert of that size and which grosses that large amount of money."
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