Ben Cummins of Baltimore purchased two Nintendo Wii game consoles during pre-Christmas shopping: one to give his 7-year-old daughter, Lauren, the other to trade for two tickets to Tuesday's Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana concert at 1st Mariner Arena.
Cummins, who last week had yet to tell Lauren that he was trying to secure tickets for her and her mom, wasn't picky about seating for the eagerly anticipated concert. "I'm just trying to get them in the building," he said. Yet since he advertised the console-for-concert trade on Craigslist on Dec. 20, he's had no takers.
That's probably because Cummins is in a saturated market for Hannah Montana concert ticket bartering, being one of three local Wii owners who offered to give up the console for tickets on Craigslist. Others offered to exchange gold or silver, two round-trip AirTran tickets, two seats to the Duke-Maryland basketball game and tickets to the Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys game.
Hannah Montana fever is gripping Charm City as it has much of the nation. Parents of teens, tweens and preschoolers who don't have tickets are scrambling to get them, some willing to fork over thousands of dollars. Those fortunate to have secured a seat are the talk of their schools; they're eagerly awaiting the arrival of teen sensation Miley Cyrus, star of the popular Disney Channel Original Series, Hannah Montana, in a concert that sold out nationwide in minutes.
The Best of Both Worlds concert culminates the skyrocketing stardom of 15-year-old Miley, the daughter of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus.
Her popularity all but assured hoopla for her concerts, where tickets have gone for as much as $2,500 each, outselling the likes of Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles. The tour began in October in St. Louis and is slated to run until Jan. 31, for a total of 69 dates. The show also features the popular teen group the Jonas Brothers as the opening act.
That quest for tickets, meanwhile, continues. 1st Mariner Arena general manager Frank Remesch said that those who keep searching for face-value tickets until the last minute might be in luck.
He said that historically seats often open after the setup crew decides to change the concert's configuration for sighting purposes. That means seating areas that had been cordoned off could become available. Such seats, he said, would be sold at face value.
"They're constantly tweaking the setup, so you never know," said Remesch, who added that the setup crew would begin rigging the arena the day before the concert.
"If I were a parent," he said, "I would begin to pay attention to Ticketmaster on Monday from 11 a.m. on."
Cummins, who paid $249 for the Wii console he's trading for tickets, said he received an e-mail from someone who saw his Craigslist entry who also told him to check early next week. He refuses to pay the lucrative prices being offered on the Web.
But he figured that by now he would have gotten "at least one phone call" in response to his offer. He admitted, however, that bartering for tickets is a practice that's new to him.
"The only thing I've ever done comparable to this," he said, "is standing out for a day to get Metallica tickets when I was younger."
The Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds tour is at Verizon Center, 601 F St. N.W., Washington, at 7 p.m. Monday and at 1st Mariner Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St., at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Ticket availability is limited.
Hannah Montana facts
Hannah Montana debuted March 24, 2006, and has been one of the most popular shows on cable television.
The Hannah Montana soundtrack sold nearly 2 million copies to become the eighth-best-selling album of 2006. It debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, as did Miley Cyrus' second album, a double-disc, this year, which featured her own original recordings under her given name, Destiny Hope Cyrus.
Hannah Montana mania has spawned merchandise, including a DVD game, a singing doll, a concert wig and an acoustic guitar. Several of the show-themed toys and games made the Toys R Us best-selling list for girls 8-14 as late as two days after Christmas.
Forbes magazine ranked Miley Cyrus 17th among highest earners under age 25 in 2007, with an income of $3.5 million.
Missing the tour?
Feb. 1-7, Disney will feature a version of the concert, Hannah Montana 3D, at various movie outlets nationwide, including AMC Loews White Marsh 16, Muvico Egyptian 24 in Hanover and Regal Bel Air Cinema Stadium 14 in Abingdon. For more information, go to disney.go.com/disneypictures/hannahmontana3d. Tickets are $15.