Courtesy of Cornell University

The Grateful Dead flag waves in front of McGraw Tower. The Dead and Company concert is set to take place on May 8.

March 16, 2023

Dead and Company Ticket Lottery Winners Announced

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Student winners of the ticket lottery for Dead and Company’s May 8 concert in Barton Hall received emails at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday alerting them that they had been selected. While some students rejoiced in their victories, others sought alternative methods of acquiring a ticket.

The lottery — which included several tier options for tickets, such as general admission tickets reserved for Cornell students — opened at around 1 p.m. on March 8 and allowed participants two days to enter, closing on March 10 at 11:59 p.m.

Students who won the lottery received codes via email enabling them to purchase the $77 general admission tickets on the concert’s website until 11:59 a.m. on Friday, according to the email, which was obtained by The Sun. Student lottery winners may transfer their tickets only to other Cornell students, as the concert will require student attendees to show their IDs at the door.

Skyler Shapiro ’25, a fan of both the Grateful Dead and Dead and Company, awaited the lottery announcement with hope that he would win a ticket. Although he never received an email confirming whether he had been selected, Shapiro figured he had not won when other students began to comment on their own lottery results on Wednesday morning.

“I think Cornell could’ve done a better job about communicating whether we did or didn’t get tickets,” Shapiro said. “I heard [that I didn’t get a ticket] by seeing that other people received emails, and I didn’t.”

Owen Mowry ’26, who described himself as a Grateful Dead devotee, also did not win the lottery, but several of his friends entered the lottery with plans to transfer their ticket to him if they won. 

“I’ve been listening to the concert that they played back in ’77 for weeks, hoping it’d give me some luck,” Mowry said. “I didn’t win myself, but one of [my friends] did, so I thankfully was able to get [a ticket].”

Shapiro also received a ticket from a friend, though he initially turned to social media to try to find lottery winners reselling their tickets. 

“[Social media] was looking pretty bad,” Shapiro said. “But fortunately, a friend of mine got a ticket that didn’t want to use it, and so she’s actually going to sell it to me for the same price she got it.”

Many students are not as lucky as Shapiro and Mowry. Like Shapiro, Matt Callewaert ’24 attempted to purchase resale tickets via social media when he did not win the lottery. 

Though Callewaert said he felt he offered sellers a reasonable price, he was met with requests much higher than he ever intended to pay.

“I spoke to someone that was a friend of a friend, and I offered them what I thought was a fair price — I offered them $300,” Callewaert said, noting that the least expensive tier of publicly-available tickets are sold for the same price. “And then the next text that I got was, ‘I have someone else that would want to buy it for $650.’”

Callewaert said that students’ ability to transfer tickets to others facilitates reselling, noting that some of his peers entered the lottery with the main intent of profiting from it.

Although Callewaert did not win a ticket in today’s lottery, he said he is remaining hopeful for the ticket lotteries open to the public — four of which he entered — which will also announce their winners this week.

James Cottral ’25 expressed a similar sentiment — though he recognized the challenges in ensuring that the majority of allocated tickets would go to Grateful Dead fans, like himself, rather than resellers.

“I think it’s a little unfortunate that people are just trying to get the ticket to mark it up to people who want to go, but there’s not much you can do against that,” Cottral said. “I’m not too sure what else you could do…. You would have to prove you’re a fan first [to enter the lottery], maybe, but I don’t think that’s viable at all.”

Callewaert also pointed out a potential wealth disparity regarding students’ ability to acquire tickets, given the exorbitant price for resale tickets.

“The people that wound up with the tickets that got scalped — so the ones that got resold — were the wealthier people,” Callewaert said. “So, basically, the resale market basically got allocated to the wealthiest people at Cornell…. It’s just antithetical to the band.”