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August 23, 2014

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Zia Records’ on-site sale of Matador tickets ends up as nonevent

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Laura Davis

The scene outside the Zia on Eastern just before 10 a.m. Friday.

Gary Naar pulled into the Zia Record Exchange parking lot Friday morning expecting a madhouse.

"I thought it would be really, really busy," said the Las Vegas resident, who drove crosstown to the Sahara store because he figured the Eastern location would be worse.

Instead, Naar and his wife found ... a short, orderly line; by 10 a.m., just 22 humans had queued up for tickets to October's Matador at 21: The Lost Weekend three-day music festival.

"I was actually gonna camp out [starting] Thursday afternoon," another buyer, Albert, 18, said after paying his $199 for a ticket. "Guess I didn't have to worry."

A similar story unfolded at the Zia on Eastern: Despite a flood of online complaints over Matador's 100-ticket Vegas allotment, only 15 people bothered to show up by 10 a.m., including one simply looking to shop for CDs. "There's something about Vegas," ticket buyer Mike Lamb said. "There seems to be a dearth of people who like this music here."

While some 40 combined tickets sat unsold for most of the day at the two Zias, the rest of the world fought hard for a chance to see Pavement, Guided By Voices, Sonic Youth, Belle & Sebastian, Cat Power and more than a dozen other acts, inside the Palms' intimate Pearl. Less than 30 minutes after going on sale at Ticketfly.com, all 2,000-odd tickets — some paired with Palms room bookings ($99 a night), some unattached and some costing $399 for VIP access to additional parties — had sold out, leading to a variety of grumbling on the label's official Matablog.

Local concert promoter James Woodbridge attempted to buy tickets online, failed, then drove over to the Sahara Zia, figuring, "What the hell? I was hoping there wouldn't be too many people, that the odds of my getting a ticket in a lottery wouldn't be too bad."

No lottery necessary. In fact, until 3 p.m. at Eastern and 4:15 at Sahara, anyone with a valid Nevada ID could have strolled in and picked up a pair of tickets to Matador's exclusive birthday bash.

"People were skeptical about coming out, so I'm not surprised," Eastern store manager Craig Lewallen said. "It's a typical Las Vegas turnout."

— Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly

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