Some East Coast Music Week venues in Charlottetown last weekend faced angry patrons when ticket holders were told they couldn't get into the shows they had paid for.
'There are so many factors at play.' - Andria Wilson, East Coast Music Association
Alanna Jankov, executive director of The Guild, was at the door Friday night when ECMA volunteers turned away some ticket holders expecting seats for the P.E.I. songwriters' circle.
"One couple in particular, they showed up probably 15, 20 minutes after the show started," said Jankov.
"However, they still had tickets, so I totally understand why they would have expected to get in."
With people able to get into shows as pass holders, all-access wristband purchasers, and ticket owners, Jankov admits it could be difficult for ECMA to estimate the number of people who will turn up. She wonders if tickets should include a cut-off time for people to arrive by, and a warning that seats aren't guaranteed.
ECMA interim executive director Andria Wilson says both options are a possibility. She said ECMA is trying to address the frustration, but added people's expectations are sometimes part of the problem.
She says Friday's problems at the Guild were compounded by the fact some patrons refused to stand for the three-and-a-half hour show. Capacity for the show was 200, with 144 seated and 56 standing, and Wilson says only 153 actually attended.
"We certainly wish we could make and enforce a perfect system but there are so many factors at play," she said.
"Festivals that are in the same market every single year struggle with these issues, and we are in the position where we're in a different market every single year."
Wilson said Charlottetown's East Coast Music Week was very popular. All-access wristbands were sold out before the first major events for the first-time ever.
ECMA tried to limit overselling on Saturday by taking advanced tickets off sale and putting out word through social media that shows were sold out, and only people with tickets or priority passes would get in.
ECMA is offering refunds to ticket holders who were turned away from any shows that were full.
For mobile device users: What should ECMA do about overcapacity venues during East Coast Music Week?