Haves and have nots: Unity concert divides Charlottesville

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Dave Matthews. Photo: Publicity photo Dave Matthews. Photo: Publicity photo

Dave Matthews Band wanted to help the healing in its hometown with a free concert following the hate fest here in August, and called upon fellow musicians Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton, Ariana Grande and others to join the show at Scott Stadium, a rarity in the middle of UVA football season.

Instead, the benefit concert has opened new wounds among those who did not get tickets from the online lottery.

During the bloody Unite the Right rally August 12, Lisa Moore was working as a medic on the streets of downtown. Her husband, Nathan, was one of the McGuffey Park safe space permit holders.

“As someone who was extremely involved and fairly traumatized from that day, it did feel like a slap in the face to be denied tickets when first-year UVA students, out-of-state residents and people who chastised everyone there for not ignoring the issue received them,” Moore says. “I do feel that the process was unfair, given that the entire promotion for the event was to be healing.”

Ann Kingston—a representative of Coran Capshaw’s Red Light, which manages a diverse roster of artists including the Dave Matthews Band—says her team has a comprehensive outreach plan to make sure first responders, medical teams and some underserved members of the community get tickets to the event.

“We’re really, in my opinion, making huge efforts to cover people,” she says, adding that Scott Stadium can hold about 40,000 people for this show, her group distributed 35,000 tickets through the online lottery and made 3,000 available at the John Paul Jones Arena box office Friday morning. She says there’s also the potential that they could hand out more tickets.

Adds Moore, “It was hurtful to see so many others online criticize those of us who expressed disappointment for not being selected for acting entitled. Of course, seeing the tickets already on Craigslist for hundreds of dollars adds insult to injury.”

Almost immediately after those who were selected for tickets were notified, people selling and requesting tickets took to Craigslist. One bundle of four tickets, which no longer appears on the site, was listed at $1,750. StubHub banned resale of the tickets.

Elise Weber, who is a Charlottesville resident and works in the University of Virginia Health System’s department of physician relations, says she’s undecided about whether she should purchase tickets for the event.

“If I was going to do that, I think I’d rather make a donation, and I had planned to do that anyway with the purchase of my tickets,” she says. She was surprised to receive her rejection email from Ticketstoday, since the Concert For Charlottesville website made it appear as though city residents and the UVA community would have first dibs.

Kingston, with Red Light, says they did.

Some community members are encouraging people who won the ticket lottery to donate them to the racial justice committee of the Unitarian Universalist church, which will distribute them to members of the groups targeted by the white supremacists, including African Americans and other people of color, Jews, Muslims and people who organized and actively confronted the haters.

While it’s unclear whether anyone will stream the concert for those who didn’t get tickets, the Tin Whistle Irish Pub has announced a “reject party” on Facebook, in which staff will blast the hits from artists scheduled to perform at Scott Stadium and 10 percent of proceeds will go to local charities.

Updated September 15 at 10am with comments from Red Light Management.

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