Geddes (WSYR-TV) -- Concert fans were expecting to reserve tickets to the State Fair grandstand shows this weekend, but plans have changed.
Sales are delayed as the state reviews a proposal for a new ticketing system. Everything is on hold until a contract is signed.
It will likely be another five to ten business days before the state makes a decision. Then, the Fair will let patrons know when they can buy tickets. The change is part of a push to go paperless and improve internal accounting.
Enjoying a concert at the Fair may be as simple as downloading a barcode to your phone. The push toward paperless tickets began last year with rides on the Midway. The box office could track data for the Strates Shows, which passes on a portion of the profit. Despite lagging attendance to the fairgrounds, the new electronic accounting showed record sales for the rides.
Fair Director Dan O’Hara says paperless concert tickets are another step toward transparency.
"When you have a system like this, it gives that opportunity to dissect data, to know where tickets are being purchased,” O’Hara said. "Trying to eliminate the ticket system into the Fair is the ultimate goal."
Fairgoer Jen Anthony believes downloading barcodes to a mobile device will save visitors time.
“I think it’s a cool idea for someone like me who lives with my smartphone. It’s on my hip all the time. For other people who don’t have smartphones…I think it’s a little tricky.”
Another concert fan fed up with surcharges online hopes a new ticket seller will save him money.
"I think it's fantastic. It's convenient. I like the removal of paper from the system as long as there is a paper option for ticketing...and I like the idea of removing Ticketmaster from the equation if possible," he said.
O’Hara won’t name the new company being considered, but says they’re well known and work with other state fairs across the country. Fans have to keep waiting to buy tickets until New York State signs off on the deal. The good news is surcharges for online sales could be lower.
"We believe right now the price is going to be $3.75…as opposed to somewhere between $7 and $10,” O’Hara explained. "It’s going through the review process. We want to make sure that all the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted."
Entrance to the Fair with the barcodes would be limited to gates one and ten this year. There will be a paperless option. O'Hara is hesitant to announce the full list of artists scheduled to perform at the grandstands before he knows who is selling the tickets.