Storm victims may not be in audience for benefit concert

Published 01/15 2014 11:03AM

Updated 01/16 2014 05:39PM

Update: 12:00 pm, 1/16/14, Thursday
BLOOMINGTON -- Organizers for a benefit concert hope people who have tickets will do the right thing. As Jacob Peklo explains, they're scrambling to free up seats for people who should be at the show.

Officials at Country Financial are frustrated. Free concert tickets for tornado victims are now in the hands of scalpers.

"It was meant to be a free show. Chicago wanted to do something great for this community, for Central Illinois," said Chris Stroish, spokesperson for Country.

Tickets made available Tuesday morning were scooped up quickly, then reappeared on the web, selling for nearly $200 each.

"At some point, you have to go with trusting people and hope for the best on that," said Jenna Fecht, marketing director for U.S. Cellular.

One of the main sites is, which is similar to It's a site where ticket brokers can resell tickets. Officials there say, if tickets are red-flagged, they can pull them from the site, but that doesn't ease the disappointment.

"It's an unfortunate incident that some people took advantage of that. And we can only hope that the people will turn around and do something good with those tickets," said Stroisch.

Coliseum officials say more than 100 people got tickets in person at the box office Tuesday, but the remaining thousands of seats were claimed in less than an hour.

"I think the only thing that we could hope for is that people would reconsider," said Stroisch.

Officials say they do not know who purchased the tickets to resell.
Original: 10:23 pm, 1/14/14, Tuesday
BLOOMINGTON -- Tornado victims may not get to see a free concert which was meant for them. Country Financial is sponsoring the concert. More than 5,000 free tickets were given away to see the band Chicago at the US Cellular Coliseum.

Tickets were gone in less than two hours, but officials don't know if they even made their way to any victims. That's because they were distributed on ticket broker websites.

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