For fans, it was great news that Twenty One Pilots decided to make the entire floor of their upcoming concert at Amalie Arena general admission.
For the venue, though, that decision has started to look a little hairy.
As a result, two weeks before the enormously popular alt-rock duo return to Tampa on Nov. 3, the venue has taken the unprecedented step of outlining day-of access policies and procedures to help ensure that fans trying to snag a spot close to the stage don't turn the place into a war zone.
In a nutshell: No camping out. No lining up at the break of dawn, either. And the entire GA queue will be sorted out by lottery.
Let's break it down:
No camping out or lining up: Tampa ordinances prevent people from camping out overnight on city property (i.e. sidewalks). And the venue will not allow camp-outs on Thunder Alley. What's more, GA ticketholders will not be allowed on Amalie property until 12:30 p.m. the day of the show, partly due to another event on the property that morning.
There's a wristband lottery: Starting at 12:30, GA fans will receive a numbered wristband for a line lottery. You must have your GA ticket in hand, and cannot pick up wristbands for other fans. At 3:15 p.m., arena staff will draw one number at random to form the beginning of the line. (For example, if the number drawn is 58, the line will begin with wristband numbers 58, 59, 60, 61 and so on, up through No. 300, then back to No. 1). Fans must then get in line and stay there. Any fan arriving after 4:30 p.m. will be put in a secondary, non-wristband line.
Bear in mind, the wristband lottery is for venue entry only. Once fans get inside (doors open at approximately 5:30 p.m.), they'll need to go to sections 101 or 112 to receive a floor access wristband.
In response to the announcement, dozens of Twenty One Pilots' notoriously gung-ho fans swiftly tweeted their outrage.
"This is such a horrible system and is going to be a wreck, when you allow the traditional camping system everything works smoothly and dedicated fans who camp abide by rules and get the spots they want and deserve," wrote one.
"This is absolutely the worst thing you could've done," wrote another. "Not only are you going to ruin the experience for some fans, people WILL get hurt."
And another: "i say this as kindly as possible. you will have a mob on your hands with this random number drawing. people are going to get hurt trying to get in the front. fans WILL fight. i've seen it happen. if you're gonna do anything, get rid of the random number drawing."
The policies, said spokeswoman Angela Lanza, were driven not by the band but the venue, in part due to ongoing construction on and around Channelside Drive. Fans were able to line up early the last time Twenty One Pilots came to town in 2017, but the area looks and feels different now, and there is less space to queue up cleanly. Cutting back on long lines, the venue says, is necessary to ensure fan safety.
Fans, we understand your frustrations. Regarding camping: since the last Twenty One Pilots concert, the construction has changed dramatically. IT IS NOT SAFE. Also, we have an event on the plaza the morning of Nov. 3 that would conflict with any lines before 12:30pm. https://t.co/JF3La5nXiR— Amalie Arena (@AmalieArena) October 19, 2018
The show itself sold out the day it went on sale. For the entire list of day-of rules and policies, click here.
In other local Twenty One Pilots news, alt-rock station 97X on Friday launched a scavenger hunt contest for a meet-and-greet with the duo before the Tampa show. To win, download the 97X app and follow the instructions about snapping/posting/tagging the right photos. The contest runs through Oct. 30. Click here for all the details.
And if you couldn't get tickets this time around, Twenty One Pilots also have a show scheduled for next June 16 at Orlando's Amway Center. Surprisingly, considering Central Florida's outrageous appetite for all things Twenty One Pilots, that show is not yet sold out. Tickets, $56.25 and up, are still on sale now. Click here for details.
— Jay Cridlin