Edmonton

Thousands gather at Telus Field for folk fest lottery

After criticism last year when all tickets to the event sold out within one hour, this year thousands of hopeful ticket-owners went to Telus Field for a ticket lottery.

New sale systems garners positive reviews

Lottery for Folk Fest tickets held at Telus Field

9 years ago
Duration 1:45
Thousands gathered for the chance to purchase tickets; online tickets sold out in 15 minutes.

The organizers of the Edmonton Folk Festival took a different approach to ticket sales this year.

After criticism last year when all tickets to the event sold out within one hour, this year thousands of hopeful ticket-owners went to Telus Field for a ticket lottery.

Attendees were given lettered tickets upon arrival. Those whose letters were drawn were then permitted to buy tickets. (CBC)

The doors to Telus Field opened at 7:00 a.m. Saturday, with the cut-off time for participation in the lottery an hour later. Nearly 2,000 folkies showed up to try their luck.

Festival producer Terry Wickham said he’s seen the audience coming down to the box office grow rapidly over the past few years. Over 1,100 people lined up in 2012 for the chance of purchasing tickets.

Wickham said the decision to move ticket sales to Telus Field this year was a good one, as it levelled the chances of purchasing tickets and provided a more comfortable, festival-like environment.

"I think people will vote here and say that this is the way to go because they have seating, they've got parking, there is facilities, washrooms — there is whatever you need," he said.

"Being able to get Telus Field has been great."

Online tickets for the event went on sale at 2:00 p.m. Saturday and were sold out within 15 minutes. 

Saturday lottery garners positive reviews

Caitlin Barker, who has gone to the annual festival every year since she was born, was one of the many who showed up bright and early  Saturday to try her chances in the lottery.

"It's been really good, It's really nice to be at the field, it’s a nice atmosphere," she said of the new sale system. "We can sit down and it's pretty relaxed."

Gerry Toller-Lobe has also been a regular at the summer music festival for years. She says this year’s lottery was a welcome change compared to last year’s long lineups.

"We got tickets but there were a lot of people disappointed last year... so yeah, we were impressed with how Folk Fest tweaks it every year to make it better," she said.

Ron Cresey received one of the first tickets sold today. He came early and prepared.

"It was great, we brought a cribbage board, played crib, everybody huddled to keep warm and had a great time."

And Cresey said he would definitely come back to play the odds again next year.

"It feels great, I was third getting my tickets in line and you know just waited for them to set up, got them, now I'm headed home for breakfast."

"I thought it went pretty smoothly for the first time doing it. At least now I’m assured of tickets, where online you’re never sure," he added.

A total of 11,000 tickets were sold this year, divided equally between in-person and online sales.

now