Concert cutback means lotto for season ticketholders

Thousands of people flock to the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater each year for the summer concert series. Photo/Special.

Patrons of the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater’s summer concert series will soon be receiving their ticket renewal forms in the mail along with an announcement of this year’s acts for the season.

While “The Fun is Back” at the Fred, this season will be difficult for some season ticket holders as the venue shrinks its concerts to one per weekend. Cutting back to one concert per artist is part of a bid to get The Fred making a profit, said Amphitheater Manager Nancy Price.

Because there will only be one concert per weekend, the number of available seats will be halved. While this is a significant cut, there are plenty of seats to accommodate all 2009 season ticket patrons, Price said.

In part that’s due to dwindling interest at The Fred. From the beginning of the 2004 concert series to the end of the 2008 concert series, series ticketholders dropped from a high of 3,849 to 1,474.

But The Fred has its ambiance going for it, the fact that the intimate up-close setting leads to an enhanced experience for the audience and the artists themselves, Price noted.

“I think once we get through this first year it will be fine,” Price said. The vibe will be good, it will be full and the energy level will be high. It will be back to being like the old days when every seat was full.”

Those who want season tickets for this year will have to participate in a random lottery drawing to select their seats. Random numbers will be assigned to those who return their ticket renewal forms, and those numbers will be the order in which patrons get to choose their seats in person at the box office Saturday, Feb. 27, Price explained.

Season ticketholders who participate in the lottery will be allowed to pass on their seats if they are not happy with the seats available, Price said.

Those who sat in groups for the 2009 season will have the option of putting each ticketholder on the same renewal form so each individual will receive a lottery number. The person with the lowest number will be allowed to select and buy the seats for that group. To qualify, however, groups must have sat together during last year’s season.

Complicating matters is that the gold-level individual seating that was available for Friday night performances will not be available, as the traditional gold-level table layout from Saturday nights will be used for all performances this year, Price said.

Those who had Friday night gold-level seats will have the first choice to select the best available seats in the reserved or law section, according to a FAQ on the ticket lottery process published by the city.

The amphitheater is unable to make concessions for charter series ticket holders, those who have been ticketholders since the inaugural season, Price said. That is because those records were lost or destroyed at some point between the transition of amphitheater management from the Development Authority and the Tourism Association, Price explained.

The amphitheater is now operated as an arm of the recreation department. Price came on as amphitheater manager in October 2008 following a successful run at The Villages Amphitheater in Fayetteville.

In addition to the summer concert series, the amphitheater will also have spotlight concerts this year bringing jazz and bluegrass music sounds to Peachtree City, Price said.

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