Tickets to Bob Dylan's only B.C. concert sold out in record time in Cranbrook Friday.
The original 3,200 ticket release was all sold by 3 p.m. Event organizers released another 250 seats after adjusting sight lines to the stage, and those were gone by 4:30 p.m.
People came from all over the Kootenays and Alberta to stand in line from 5:30 p.m. Thursday, more than 15 hours before the box office opened.
Around 50 people spent the night outside the RecPlex, setting up camping stoves and playing music. By the time security opened the doors to the centre, about 125 people had lined up and were moved inside the arena to circle the concourse.
"There were already a couple of hundred people here by just after 6:30 a.m.," said RecPlex events manager Chris New. "It has been like nothing I have ever seen."
There was some vandalism to the southern entrance to the RecPlex overnight Thursday, New added, with several windows broken, but it had nothing to do with the Dylan line-up.
"Nobody in the line even heard anything," he said.
Despite the long wait, the atmosphere in the line-up was positive, with some saying Dylan's spirit could already be felt.
"They were just having a blast. They said it's just like a concert back in the '60s or '70s when this was your only option – you camped out. We actually had a lot of good comments from that, saying, oh no, it was no problem," said New.
By the time ticket sales began at 9 a.m. Friday, hundreds of people were lined up, with the queue snaking most of the way around the concourse.
The box office can't process ticket sales online, so purchases could only be made in person or on the telephone.
"We are doing everything manually," said New Friday afternoon. "To process that amount of tickets, while we now know it's in our capacity to do it in a day, we didn't actually think we could handle the volume. The staff in the box office was just incredible."
The queue of Dylan fans didn't abate at the RecPlex until early afternoon.
"The line-up finally finished about (1pm)," said New. "People just kept coming in and coming in and coming in."
But the phones never let up, still ringing off the hook by the time the second release of tickets sold out.
Over at the Key City Theatre, where 500 tickets were available cash-only, the line-up absorbed all available seats by noon.
"A heartfelt thanks to the Key City theatre box office staff who assisted us at their location," said New.
The enthusiasm for Bob Dylan was "like nothing I have ever seen", New added, and it broke records for the RecPlex.
"I remember with ZZ Top we had some people show up at 4 or 5 in the morning, but not a lot of them."
When Nickelback performed at the RecPlex in March 2004, before the City of Cranbrook took over operations of the centre, tickets were sold out on the first day too. However that time, the previous operator sold tickets through an online ticket provider.
On Friday, the 3,448 tickets were processed manually over a 7.5 hour period.
"I didn't honestly believe we could sell that many tickets in one day. It's nothing short of remarkable," said New.
Event promotor FJ Hurtak of Kootenay Concert Connection said more tickets may be released closer to the August 12 event.
"We are going to try and get a few more tickets released as we get closer to the show. Certainly no promises or guarantees, but if we do have a few available at that time, that information will be posted on the RecPlex website at www.CranbrookRecPlex.ca," said Hurtak.
"It was great to see the interest, and all the happy faces at the end. I do feel sorry for those people that were not able to secure tickets for this once in a lifetime-type event."
Bob Dylan and band will perform at the Cranbrook RecPlex on Sunday, August 12. It is one of only three Canadian concerts the legendary musician and songwriter is including in his North American tour. He performs in Lloydminster on August 10 and Lethbridge on August 11. After his Cranbrook concert, Dylan heads to Missoula, Montana for an August 14 concert.