Justin Bieber show's a speedy sellout


Tickets for teen heart throb Justin Bieber's Sept. 4 concert at the Allentown Fair sold out Saturday about as fast as the 16-year-old's R&B/pop songs have risen on the charts -- arguably setting a record for the fastest fair grandstand sell-out.

The ''arguably'' part is that, while 8,500 of the 9,000 tickets the fair had to sell were gone in 28 minutes, it took more than an hour to sell the last 500 -- pushing the total sales time past the one hour in which country star Tim McGraw sold out in 2005.

Fair Marketing Director Bonnie Brosious said those final 500 tickets were single seats, and while country music fans may not mind sitting alone in a crowd, that's not an option for many of Bieber's target audience of 'tween and young teen girls. Brosious said Bieber reached the single-seats mark far faster than McGraw.

Fastest or not, Bieber gave Allentown Fair its first sellout of the year. Last year, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham was the only sell-out, and another act with the initials J.B. -- The Jonas Brothers -- did it in 2008.

''Bieber Nation was out in force in the Lehigh Valley today and everywhere else in the online universe,'' Brosious said. ''It was unbelievable, just unbelievable.''

The fair is catching Bieber at perhaps the height of his popularity. His sophomore disc, ''My World 2.0,'' hit stores Tuesday and is expected to top Billboard's album chart this week. The album's first single, ''Baby'' (featuring Ludacris), was Bieber's first Top 10 hit and is at No. 10 this week. Another single, ''U Smile,'' is this week's highest chart debut at No. 27, as the single ''Never Let You Go'' was two weeks ago at No. 21.

The fair show is the final date in Bieber's first tour and comes four days after he plays Madison Square Garden.

That popularity wasn't lost on 160 people -- some wrapped in blankets -- who braved nippy temperatures to wait in line at the fair box office Saturday. The crush for tickets resulted in a minor dust-up when Michele Gubish, 43, of Hellertown -- who had waited in line since Thursday night -- said a couple from Phillipsburg who declined to give their names stepped in front of her at the fair gate's opening.

The couple got three first-row tickets while Gubish settled for four second-row seats. The couple said they called to confirm the fair's no-overnight-waiting policy, and were unaware Gubish -- who slept in her car and moved to the fairgrounds at 10:30 p.m. Friday -- was in line when they queued up to buy tickets for their daughters, 13 and 16. Brosious said the fair has had a no-overnight rule for years.

Gubish bought tickets for her daughter, Kristen, 11. ''She just loves Justin Bieber,'' Gubish said. After she got the tickets, Kristen asked, ''Can I hold them?''

It was the same for Gubish's friend Jen German of Hellertown, who bought tickets for her daughters Emma, 9, and Hannah, 12, who said she likes Bieber '''cause he's cute and we love his music.''

Rich Bennock of Weissport traveled almost 30 miles to wait with his daughter Danielle and her friend Ismar Villafave, both 14. Bennock said he waited three days in the middle of winter in Pittsburgh 20 years ago for Grateful Dead tickets.

''This is nothing,'' he said.

Bennock wasn't unusual. ''We're getting a lot of dads calling,'' Brosious said. ''They want to be a hero.''

Helping the quick sell-out was the show's relatively low ticket prices -- $39 and $49 -- Brosious said. Using five sales windows, the fair handled all 160 people in 20 minutes, before only the single seats were left, though people continued to trickle in afterward.

Cynthia Delgado of Allentown, who was 150th in line, and her daughter Andrea, 11, got sixth-row grandstand seats after waiting less than a half hour.

After securing the tickets, mothers hugged and congratulated each other.

''Judging by the shrieks we heard, they were all happy and excited,'' Brosious said. ''It was fun, and that's really great.''

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