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Message board bands Phish fans against ticket scammer

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : The message board thread began around 4 Tuesday afternoon as a discussion about the search for tickets to three consecutive sold-out Phish concerts in Atlantic City on Oct. 29-31. Before dark, PhantasyTour.com had spawned a community of loyal followers hot on the heels of a conniving cheat.

After Ticketmaster “released” the tickets for sale on Sept. 11, brokers and get-rich-quick entrepreneurs snatched up a batch by staking out Ticketmaster outlets, using computer software crafted to invade Ticketmaster’s website to secure tickets — and even printing their own.

Longtime Phish fans already have to deal with markups on secondary markets such as Stubhub.com and Ticketsnow.com. A single $60 ticket for one of the A.C. shows can now run up to $400.

But a different form of

Samantha Rosenberg

injustice has emerged: No one has been able to determine the seller’s true identity, but several posters to the message board confirmed that a “Mitch Williams” sold two Halloween tickets to a Hoboken native who claimed he paid $300 for the pair.

The buyer — who wants to remain anonymous for obvious reasons —  tested the paper and ink and found that the tickets were bogus.

An online posse of Phish fans quickly grew. The vigilantes are out to catch Mitch and turn him over to the authorities.

An NYU music business major sent Williams an email requesting tickets of his own. In their email exchange, he gave Williams, who identified himself as a Bronx local, a phone number to continue contact: that of an NYPD Bronx precinct.

“I just wanted him to know that people were catching on to what he was doing,” the student told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “I wanted to disrupt him from scamming more Phish fans.”

The unity encourages people like 25-year-old Danielle Vaughan of Long Island, who saw the four-piece improvisational rock band a dozen times this summer.

“This band is a lifestyle,” she said, adding that she plans to catch six more shows, including the big New Year’s Eve run at Madison Square Garden spanning Dec. 30-Jan. 1. All of the shows are sold out.

To this point, PhantasyTour.com — dedicated to various acts in Phish’s orbit — has been a virtual hangout for followers worldwide to talk about the band, the shows, and what’s it’s like to be a fan.

All it took was one greedy cheat to strengthen those bonds even more and turn chilled Phish fans into activists. Stay tuned.

Philadelphia-born, University of Miami Hurricane Samatha Rosenberg is a five-year veteran teacher, preschool to high school, inner city. She’s also a student at Pace University’s M.S. in Publishing and the newest contributor to CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

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