FORT WORTH (CBS11) - Hundreds of people have the blues after they said they were turned away from a Fort Worth concert, even though they had tickets. Many blame the Blues Bowl's promoter, saying he intentionally oversold the event.
The concert, which featured six popular blues artists, took place December 2 at the Guys & Dolls Ballroom in Fort Worth.
Four local businesses began selling $40 tickets in September. One store manager says his business alone sold close to $30,000 worth of tickets. All four said Dallas-based promoter Alton Linwood would pick up the money on a daily basis.
Altonio Douglas bought 50 tickets to celebrate his wife Tamara's birthday. Douglas says he touched base with Linwood before the event to make sure his group could sit together at the concert. He says Linwood was very reassuring and even met with him at the venue hours before the concert to go over his concerns.
Douglas says hundreds of people were already in line when he approached Linwood at the door of Guys & Dolls two hours before the concert was scheduled to begin. "I said 'Linwood, it's Douglas.' And he just looked at me like he don't even know me." Douglas, along with his friends and family, were directed to the back of the line.
The line was filled with people who had already bought tickets, along with others hoping to get them at the door. Douglas and others with presale tickets say they were ignored as Linwood and his team sold tickets for $50 at the door. A dozen other people contacted Consumer Justice with similar stories. "You disregard the people that have tickets and go right to the people paying -- that right there is shady," said Tamara Douglas. Twenty people in the Douglas party never made it through the door.
A few hours after the show began, the Tarrant County Fire Marshal's Office was called to the scene for concerns about overcrowding. A spokesman says crews estimated 2,000 people were in the building; its maximum occupancy is 1,670. Crews say they also found hazards inside, including fire exits blocked by chairs and trash cans, and doorways hidden by curtains. Fire officials shut down the event and ordered everyone out, even though customers said an estimated 200-300 people were still waiting to get inside.
Consumer Justice went to talk to Linwood, who lives with his mother. While we found his brand new Maserati parked outside, his mother told us he was not home. She placed the blame on rowdy concertgoers. "They was trying to skip each other. The police said they had 100-some calls... Fort Worth people acting silly."
Linwood said the same thing to a Consumer Justice producer who contacted him through Facebook. He said the event was shut down because of fights outside the venue. Linwood said he was paid to promote the event and gave all the money to the show's sponsor, Barrington Lister. When we asked for Lister's phone number he said Lister had changed it. Days later, Linwood deleted his Facebook profile.
Customers who want refunds can file a police report but it will likely be considered a civil matter, unless police can prove Linwood knew he was overselling the event.
CBS11 Investigative Producer Kelsy Mittauer contributed to this report.
for more features.