Ryan McDonald

Free wristbands for Teen Choice Awards in Hermosa Beach fetching hundreds online

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Many people waiting for “Locals Only” tickets to Sunday’s Teen Choice Awards found themselves out of luck. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Ryan McDonald

Massive demand for passes to Sunday’s Teen Choice Awards in Hermosa Beach has created a thriving secondary market for wristbands that were given out for free to local residents Thursday morning.

Distribution of the free tickets was supposed to begin at 11 a.m. Thursday on the lawn east of the Hermosa Community Center, but people reported lining up in the wee hours of the morning, and one woman said that distribution of tickets began as early as 10 a.m. According to posts on Nextdoor, people who lined up after 9 a.m. found that all of the Locals Only wristbands had already been given out, and before noon, signs posted around the Community Center indicated that the “Locals Only” wristbands were no longer available.

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News of the shortage prompted profit seekers to turn to social media sites like NextDoor, offering their tickets for sale. One poster included a phone number and offered tickets “right in front of the stage” for $500. Another was looking for a “best offer” and said that “GA” tickets were going for $750 each. (General admission tickets were offered through the event’s web site, and were also free, but, as of Thursday afternoon, were also all given out).

Others went online hoping to buy tickets, with some announcing agreements to pay upwards $100 per ticket. And still others condemned the practice of selling tickets for a free event. Hermosa resident Jenny Suguitan said she began waiting in line at 8:45 a.m., but that tickets were all claimed by the time she made her way through the line. She blamed “greediness” and people taking more tickets than they needed.

“Shame on those trying to make a buck off a free event! This is supposed to be an event the kids of the Beach Cities can enjoy, but turned into savages coming to scoop up all the tickets to sell them!” Suguitan wrote. 

By Friday, the sale of tickets had spread to Craigslist, with one poster asking as much as $600 for one wristband. But the shortage of tickets had also inspired a more civic-minded reaction. Some, expressing disdain at the scalping, used NextDoor proposed starting a parent watch party on the sand south of the enclosure. And others with extras agreed to give away tickets  to those with kids that were lacking.

Approximately 10,000 people are expected to attend the awards, which will take place on the sand south of the Hermosa Pier. According to plans released by the city in the days leading up to the event, 3,000 wristbands would be set aside for residents of Hermosa, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. Those standing in line could obtain no more than four wristbands, which will allow admission to a special area closer to the stage. The city had stated that distribution would take place on Thursday and Friday. A spokesperson for the city said that all tickets were claimed Thursday morning, and there were no additional wristbands distributed on Friday. 

It is unclear whether the free wristbands can in fact be transferred. A disclaimer given out with the tickets stated in bold letter, “Wristbands are not to be sold or transferred,” and warned that event staff reserved the right to “refuse admission to any wristband holder.” But it is not clear what, if any, measures would be in place to prevent admission to someone who purchased a wristband.

The city spokesperson referred questions about selling wristbands to Bob Bain Productions, the company producing the awards. A spokesperson for the production company declined to comment on the scalping issue.

This is a developing story, watch for updates. ER

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