How Far Would You Travel to See Beyoncé?
How far would you go to see the winningest artist in Grammy history? Is it more or less than 5,800 miles?
For Janny Nascimento, a 29-year-old English teacher in Brazil, missing Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour — the singer’s first solo tour since 2016 — was not an option. So she plunked down 850 euros, or about $900, for a pair of tickets to see her favorite artist on June 24 in Frankfurt, Germany.
“I would do it again if I had to because this is the dream come true,” Ms. Nascimento said from her apartment in Campos dos Goytacazes, a town four hours northeast of Rio de Janeiro. Though she has never before traveled outside Brazil, “now I’m going through two continents to a place that I have never been to, a country where I don’t even speak the language,” she said.
The announcement of the tour on Instagram last week immediately touched off a frenzy for tickets, with fans losing their minds with presale (and resale) anxieties. Chances to snag tickets before they went on sale to the general public were offered to members of Beyoncé’s official fan club and holders of certain credit cards through exclusive presale drops.
But early in the registration process, Ticketmaster issued an ominous warning that “demand already exceeds the number of tickets available by more than 800 percent” in several cities, prompting some worried fans to consider an unlikely option: If I’m determined not to miss this tour, is it possible that the rational thing to do is cross an ocean for a concert?
Bre Harper, 27, a creative partnerships manager at Spotify who lives in Los Angeles, realized her chances of getting tickets to a North American stop on the tour were slim to none.
“I, with the rest of the internet, went on Ticketmaster, where you have to be verified as a fan,” Ms. Harper said, referring to restrictions on sales for U.S. tour dates.
Ticketmaster Under Scrutiny
The ticketing giant has come under fire after it botched the rollout of tickets to Taylor Swift’s tour last year — a failure the company blamed on bots.
- Unhappy Customers: Fiascos involving Swift and Bad Bunny have made Ticketmaster the object of a significant amount of public discontent.
- Senate Hearing: Live Nation, the owner of Ticketmaster, came under attack from lawmakers in both parties, who called the company a monopoly while quoting lyrics from songs by Ms. Swift.
- Biden’s Proposal: Days after the Senate hearing, President Biden called for limits to be placed on the fees that companies like Ticketmaster can be charged for tickets to live entertainment.
- Under Investigation: The Justice Department is said to have opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation, which predates the latest debacles.
“I did not make a Verified Fan account with Ticketmaster,” she added. “I just have a regular account. I didn’t feel like fiddling with the whole Verified Fan thing.”
While scrolling on TikTok, Ms. Harper learned that she did not have to be verified to buy tickets to the European leg of the tour. She also noticed that tickets for European dates were often hundreds of dollars cheaper than comparable tickets in the United States, she said. When she asked her boyfriend if he would be willing to travel with her, he said yes.
The only European city she could find with tickets available in the “Club Renaissance” standing section was Warsaw, Poland. Ms. Harper, who said she believed the 40-city tour could be the artist’s last, bought a pair of $475 tickets as quickly as she could.
“She now has a life, a family,” Ms. Harper said. “I think this is going to be her last hurrah and I didn’t want to miss it.”
Tickets to the tour, which is in support of Beyoncé’s seventh solo studio album, “Renaissance,” went on sale to members of the BeyHive fan club on Monday. Ticketmaster’s decision to require Verified Fan registration reflects one of the company’s most muscular attempts yet to thwart bots and stop scalpers from buying tickets and reselling them at absurd markups.
Late last year, Ticketmaster was forced to cancel a planned general release of tickets to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour after an overheated presale period ended in chaos. Ms. Swift’s fans complained that tickets were being sold at preposterous markups of up to tens of thousands of dollars on sites like StubHub.
The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster. Last month, during a nearly three-hour Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, politicians painted the concert giant as a monopoly that hinders competition and harms consumers. Shortly after the announcement of the Renaissance World Tour, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued an ominous warning to Ticketmaster on Twitter.
Ticketmaster, whose parent company’s president has acknowledged problems with the presale for Ms. Swift’s tour, did not immediately respond to questions on Friday.
The tour is scheduled to begin on May 10 in Stockholm, cutting a path across Europe through June before heading to North America in July.
Ms. Harper, a self-described military brat, said she had traveled through Europe extensively, but she had never been to Poland.
“It’s not that frightening to me,” Ms. Harper said. “You only live once — let’s go!”
Ms. Harper, who posted on Twitter about acquiring her tickets, said that, as a Black woman, she was nervous about only one thing.
“I had a lot of people comment or quote my tweet and tell me that there are some racial issues in Poland currently,” she said. “That’s probably the only thing that I’m just a tad bit nervous about.”
“But the BeyHive is so supportive,” she added, referring to the superstar’s legion of fans. “There are so many folks that are in my DMs saying that they live or they have relatives in Poland. They are already offering to help me with places to go, eat, and how to navigate the metro.”
After she missed an opportunity to see Beyoncé in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, Ms. Nascimento was resolved not to let another chance go by. Although she doesn’t have a passport yet, she has already taken a photo for it.
“I’m still struggling, looking at the credit card receipt,” Ms. Nascimento said. “I would do it again if I had to,” she added wistfully.
“This is inspired by the album,” Ms. Nascimento said, her pink box braids pulled away from her face. “When ‘Break My Soul’ came out, I was in a very dark place in my life,” she said, “and it was like Beyoncé wrote this thinking about me.”
“She knows that I’m struggling, she knows what’s going on,” Ms. Nascimento added. “She was like, release your job, release your mind, you know, let down your hair.”