Phish Tickets by Mail VS. Public Sales

As most of you all know, Phish’s Summer Tour ticket lotto is currently underway–ending the 27th.  Following that, the public tickets sales will start on April 2nd.  Do you want to put in a request for a cool looking Phish mail order ticket?  Or do you want to wait for the public sale so you have better control over the seats you get?

Last year I put requests into the lotto for all the shows I wanted to see.  I won some, but not all.  What seems to be the pattern with Phish’s lotto is that it’s extremely hard to get a pavilion ticket, your chances of getting a lawn seat are much higher.  I can’t stand the lawn for a number of reasons that should be obvious.  When you put in a request with the lotto, you have no choice if you accept the ticket they are giving to you in the event you win.  When you buy off of Live Nation or Ticket Master, they show you what seat you are buying exactly–then you have the option to buy or dump the ticket. 

At this point, the only way I can justify supporting Phish’s ticket lotto is when you are requesting a ticket you know is going to be hard to get.  Last year we saw this with the Fox Theater and Red Rocks (aside from the fact that it’s all GA, so it doesn’ matter the quality of the ticket).  The tickets for those shows, Fox for being small and Red Rocks for being EPIC, were very hard to get refreshing the public sale websites.  So, in a smart pre-emptive attempt,  people tried their luck in the lotto first. 

This year there are only a handful of shows I would deem appropriate to put in lotto requests for:

Toyota Park:  Place is so big who cares where you sit, the only good spots for sight or sound are on the GA lawn at stage level.  Last year the in venue security was pretty lax,  and you could move about in the seats or into the GA as you pleased.  You might as well go for the pretty Mail Order ticket here.

Blossom Music Center:  Place is a toss up on whether or not it’s worth putting into the lotto for, I did just to be safe.  I could see, because of the great location, it being a somewhat hard ticket to snag via public sale.  Also, a lot of the east coasters will be starting at this venue and a lot of people in general are going to skip Toyota Park and start their tour in Ohio.  That being said; if you get the lawn, you better figure out a way to get stubbed into the pavilion or trade your ticket up to be able to fully enjoy the acoustics of this venue that was created for the Cleavland Symphony Orchestra.

nTelos Pavilion: This Virginia venue holds 6,500 people.  Almost no one is aware of this, thinking the Greek is going to be the smallest summer venue.  Probably shouldn’t even waste time trying to get a ticket and just go straight to Hartford.  If you do try to get a ticket, you’re going to have to get friends to put in lotto requests for you too.  

Verizon Wireless Amp:  The last two shows of the first leg, falling on Independence Day, are going to be in high demand, along with the fact that the capacity is only 12,000 people–put in for mail order on this one for sure.


Pretty much every show but Alpine Valley and Deer Creek you are going to want to put in for lotto requests.  As far as the tiny Greek Theater and Telluride, you are going to have to put in multiple requests with your friends’ helping…and it wont matter because both places are all general admission.

If you decide to wait for the public sale date and you want to be a little risky, wait until about 2 weeks before the show and go back to Live Nation or Ticket Master–if this summer is like last summer, those sites will be having re-released tickets around then.  Last year this yielded far better tickets than the public sale date.  Seems rediculous that this is how they operate, but it’s a good tidbit of information to know.

Good luck!