Thousands of students anxiously lined Washington Street outside Sen. Barack Obama's Bloomington campaign office and the Indiana Memorial Union Wednesday night and all day Thursday to get their hands on free Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds concert tickets.
Matthews and Reynolds will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at Indiana University's Assembly Hall, although doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The duo will perform as part of Sen. Obama's "Change Rocks" concert series, which has already taken place in Chicago.
Union Board Concert Committee Director Kathy Cook said that as of Thursday, 8,000 tickets were released all over the state due to the stage options available at Assembly Hall. However, she said she did not know if tickets had been sold out or not.
"Lines for tickets were being cut because they were running out at the locations," she said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they were all sold out."
Cook encouraged students to be patient with the ushering staff, and asked that bags not be brought in and personal items be kept to a minimum in order to speed up the security check process.
"Everyone with a ticket will get in and get a seat," she said.
Cook said Union Board has invited other candidates to hold concerts or other large scale events as Sen. Obama has done.
Sophomore Heather Zurek said that while she only had to wait half an hour for a ticket Wednesday, friends had to wait in a line that spanned five blocks down Washington Street.
"I'm expecting a lot of people to be at the concert," she said. "It'll be a little chaotic, but I plan on getting there early to get a good seat."
As a recent fan of Matthews' music, Zurek said she has been a big supporter of Obama for a while.
"This (concert) is a good way for college people to think about the election," she said. "Obviously, it's popular right now, trying to get Dave Matthews tickets, but it's a way for people to become aware of being involved and knowing what's going on in politics."
However, Zurek said important issues are taken away from the public eye by candidates using celebrities to stump for them.
Volunteer Coordinator of Students for Barack Obama junior Anna Strand said she expects the concert to be "absolutely huge."
Strand said the ticket hand-outs were also proactive in getting students to vote.
"We gave out information about early voting when people would get their tickets," she said. "(Early voting) is vital because the primary election is May 6, after school gets out."
Strand said members of Students for Barack Obama also offered ticket holders incentives to get friends to register to vote.
"If a student turns in 20 filled-out voter registration forms by Friday, they can get a VIP ticket," she said. VIP tickets determine seating, she said, since the rest of the seating will be general admission.
As for the primary race, Strand said the election is going to be interesting.
"For anyone who cares about politics and elections, this year is so exciting," she said. "It used to be like pulling teeth to get students to care about elections," but that isn't the case this year, she said.
While the event is open to all Indiana residents, concertgoers must present an Indiana student ID or Indiana driver's license before entering Assembly Hall.
On Sunday before the concert, Cook said no lines will be recognized before noon. "If people try to camp out early Sunday morning in front of Assembly Hall, their line won't be admitted into the actual line," she said.
© 2008 Indiana Daily Student via U-WIRE