Rolling Stones Fans Enter Lottery for Madison Square Garden Tickets

18,000 fans chosen at random due to high demand

The Rolling Stones perform onstage at Madison Square Garden on November 28th, 1969 in New York City, New York. Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

NEW YORK — Fearing riots and blocked traffic around Madison Square Garden when thousands of Rolling Stones fans lined up for tickets to the three Stones concerts there, the Garden and the promoters of the current tour developed a lottery system for selling tickets to the concerts.

About 55,000 seats were at stake for three concerts – July 24th, 25th and 26th.

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Those who wanted tickets were asked to send in postcards; by the cutoff date, June 16th, about 400,000 had piled up in mailbags at the Garden. On that date, they were dumped into two large wooden bins specially built for the purpose and stirred with shovels. Then a dozen Garden employees picked out 18,000 cards, and members of an accounting firm took the winning cards off in suitcases.

After duplicates are removed, the winners will be notified that they can pick up four tickets to one of the concerts. The chances, by the way, of being selected were about 1 in 22 for each card sent in.

Garden officials said they liked the postcard lottery system and might use it for similar events in the future.

This story is from the July 20th, 1972 issue of Rolling Stone.