R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.: An Alum’s Ticket Memory

Ross Fazekas, BS’88, has been attending music concerts since 1982. He keeps every ticket stub and proudly displays hundreds of them in poster-size frames on the wall of his office in Indianapolis. Each stub has its own story.

One very memorable story is about obtaining his ticket for the John Mellencamp concert at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind., on April 26, 1986. This concert was not only during IU’s Little 500 weekend, but arguably at the height of Mellencamp’s popularity. At the time, Mellencamp, DM Hon’00, had several albums and Top 10 singles that had thrust him to the top of the music charts.

Fazekas and five of his friends, who were IU Bloomington students at the time, decided they would do whatever it took to get front row seats. Remember, this was 1986, so you had to purchase tickets in person.

“We took turns waiting in line for five days,” says Fazekas.

The six men started in a line at Bill Armstrong Stadium on the north side of the IU campus. Each person was allowed to buy up to four tickets, so not everyone needed to be in the line 24/7. This allowed Fazekas and his friends to rotate in and out of the line to attend classes, eat, sleep, or shower, while still holding their coveted place at the front of the line.

In theory, it was a perfect plan. But, one day, Fazekas returned to relieve a friend only to discover the line was gone. This seemed impossible, because the tickets weren’t officially on sale yet.

“You have to remember, this was [before] cell phones,” explains Fazekas. “He had no way of contacting me, and I had no way of contacting him.”

Fazekas wandered around until he finally found the line and his friend at Memorial Stadium. Turns out the organizers moved the line to a ticket booth on the west side of the stadium because the line had grown to about 300 people.

When the tickets finally went on sale, Fazekas was fourth in line and got his front row seat.

“It was really cool to be a part of all of that,” he says.

Ross Fazeka and his ticket stub collection appeared in the Original section of the Winter 2017 issue of the IU Alumni Magazine, a magazine for members of the IU Alumni Association. View current and past issues of the IUAM.

Original shines a spotlight on the works, talents, and interests of IU alumni across the globe. Have something unique worth sharing? Let us know at iueditor@iu.edu

Written By
Amanda Zuicens-Williams
Amanda Zuicens-Williams, BA’01, is former associate editor of the IU Alumni Magazine. She enjoys meeting IU alumni and sharing their unique stories.