Home > Newspaper Articles > 1977 > June 1, 1977. Macon, GA.

CONCERT DATE: June 1, 1977. Macon, GA

Coliseum Workers Take Pick Of Presley Tickets
by Jane Oppy
The Macon News
June 2, 1977

Three Macon Coliseum employes and nine of their friends and relatives sat front-row center at the Elvis Presley concert Wednesday night, while ordinary customers had to wait in line for tickets.

Asked how she got the seats that mysteriously disappeared before the ticket office opened in March, coliseum box office manager Jo Ethridge said she and two other employes bought four tickets each for themselves and friends.

"Why shouldn't we? said Coliseum Manager William Lavery, who allowed employes to buy tickets before others who waited in line up to three days for a crack at front-row, center stage seats.

"I JUST FRANKLY don't remember," said Mayor Buckner Melton, asked if anyone had advised him of Lavery's action

City administrator Robert Bailey was asked by Mayor Melton to investigate the problems with coliseum ticket sales when the flap occurred last March.

Bailey said "there were situations involving mail order tickets" which were sold in some instances before the box office was opened to the public. He said he wanted to ask Lavery if the tickets in question were mail order tickets before commenting on the situation.

The chairman of a city council committee which reviewed complaints against the Macon Coliseum box office last March says Lavery did'nt tell him that coliseum employes had bought choice Presley concert seats.

"THIS WAS NEVER brought out in out meeting... I don't think this is ethical," said Willie Hill, chairman of the Public Properties Committee "I can assure you that our committee had no knowledge of this"

Hill said his group would ask Lavery to appear at their regular meeting next week.

Lavery told reporters at the coliseum following the Presley following the PResley concert Wednesday night that he had advised the Properties Committee of the sales to coliseum employes.

LAVERY IDENTIFIED the other employes who bought front-row tickets as Miss Linda Ray, bookkeeper, and Mrs. Carolyn Moore, recepcionist and box office assistant.

Asked why he allowed them to buy tickets before the public, when the coliseum is a public building. Lavery answered, "My first duty is to the public, along with my employes.

He said he didn't plan to change the practice of allowing employes first crack at choice tickets.

"When the show is here six or eight times, the employes are entitled to one time."

"This is the first time I ever sat on the first row," said Mrs. Etheridge of the Presley concert.

In front row, stage right sears was a group of irate Presley fans who complained to City Council in March, that they were denied tickets to the first three rows of seats, though they were first in line to get them.

Sonja Ketterbaugh, seated in the first row aisle seat stage right, said she was offered tickets in the right-hand front-row section but wanted center section tickets.

"We were all first in line to get tickets. We see now where they went," said her companion, Sonya Smith. Mrs. Smith said they gave their husbands the fourth-row seats they also obtained.

Mrs. Ketterbaugh said she recognized only one other person in the front row who had stood in line with them.

Diann Ellis, a young woman sporting a blue and yellow teddy bear, said she stood in line to get tickets for two days. She and her seatmate, Debbie Wilson, bought 10 tickets each for friends.

All but four of the center-front row seat occupants refused to give their names when asked how they got seats. The center section contains 16 seats, and according to Mrs. Etheridge count, tickets she and the other employes bought would account for 12 of them.

A man who gave his name as Jack Frost from Augusta in the center row said he ordered his ticket in advance from a catalogue mail order home.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez