Grand Island - The Nebraska State Fair is attempting to improve the experience for fairgoers by doing away with concert wristbands.
State Fair Executive Director Joseph McDermott said the time it takes to stand in line and wait for the free wristbands has been a consistent complaint from concertgoers.
"Through technology, we are now able to replace the free wristband program with a reserved seat ticketing program for a small convenience fee," said McDermott.
That isn't the only change the fair plans to make. McDermott said they have made several efforts to improve the experience over the years based on customer feedback.
"For instance, we continue to add more seating and picnic tables every year—and we add shaded areas and air conditioning so families can get some respite from the heat. These continue to be priorities from fairgoer feedback.
He said the addition to reserved concert seating has been one the fair has discussed for a while. "Now we're able to move forward," said McDermott. "The Nebraska State Fair has formed a new partnership with Etix.com to provide all ticketing including reserved seat tickets for concerts."
Previously concertgoers have had to stand in long lines waiting to receive a maximum of two free wristbands, and then waiting in line again to enter the show. That time can add up to as long as two hours.
McDermott said, "Standing in line in the weather and the inability for folks from out of town to make the trek to Grand Island has made the free wristband system obsolete for a great many of our concert goers."
With the new online system fairgoers can reserve tickets from home for a $6 convenience fee per concert. Tickets will also be available at the Heartland Events Center in person or by phone and will be sold on a first come/first served basis.
There will be a total of four concerts with a $6 convenience fee per concert, and three concerts with reserved seat ticket and fees with prices beginning at $20. The 2014 lineup will be announced soon. Prices do not include gate.
The Nebraska State Fair runs from August 22 to September 1, in Grand Island.