Special Classifieds Feature

Buy Washington Post Inauguration newspapers, books, and more

Neighborhood Ball Likely Sold Out

We're hearing reports that tickets to the Neighborhood Ball, featuring a bevy of big-name musical stars, quietly went on sale this afternoon to the general public for $25 apiece--with a maximum purchase of four tickets. But they appear to already have sold out.

As has become the case with Obama's official inaugural balls, the Presidential Inaugural Committee never announced when tickets were to be available to the public. From sources we've talked to, it appears that Obama insiders and volunteers were told that Neighborhood Ball tickets were available online at this Web site, along with tickets to the other official balls. Word spread rapidly and virally through emails and phone calls among friends. A source who heard about the tickets in late afternoon said the Neighborhood Ball tickets were gone by the time he checked that site.

The Youth Ball for people 18-35 was also sold out. It appears that the only official ball tickets that might still be available are to three regional balls -- Midwestern Ball, Southern Ball and the Western/Southwestern Ball. Those tickets cost $150 apiece. The Mid-Atlantic and Biden Home States Balls also are sold out, it appears.

If you give the site a try, please tell us in the comments whether you scored tickets.

Update 7:43 p.m.: The Presidential Inaugural Committee contacted Inauguration Watch to point out that it gave away 1,000 free tickets to the Neighborhood Ball to local organizations today. Inauguration Watch would argue that that's not exactly making the tickets available to the general public because they're not available to everyone, but rather the selected groups. And since a single ballroom at the Washington Convention Center, where the Neighborhood Ball will be held, can hold more than 5,000 people, there's a lot of other tickets that could have been made available to the public at large in a more transparent way.

By David A Nakamura  |  January 14, 2009; 6:53 PM ET  | Category:  Entertainment , The Balls , Tickets
Previous: Want to See a Protest? | Next: Republicans John Warner, Chuck Hagel, Lindsey Graham to Appear at Bi-Partisan Dinners

Add Inauguration Watch to Your Site
Stay on top of the latest from Inauguration Watch! This easy-to-use widget is simple to add to your own Web site and will update every time there's a new installment of Inauguration Watch.
Get This Widget >>


This is such a joke. Tickets were supposedly going to be made available for DC residents and once again, they haven't been. Oh wait, they were available for DC residents that belong to the Boys and Girls Clubs or are somehow affiliated with them.

I have been checking the site and waiting day after day to hear of news on how to buy/receive tickets to this ball as a DC resident and I find it amusing how they chose to distribute the tickets.

Posted by: jukeman1 | January 14, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

What you reported is true. I got my email from my "insider" contact this afternoon. Tried the link, but by that time all tickets except the Western and Southern Reg. Balls were "not able to access".

We ended up buying tix for the Western because, well, the Southern Ball is in the DC Armory ghetto. And I've been out west. Twice! Beggars can't be choosers though, so since this is my first inauguration I will be sure to try and have as much fun as possible. (And try to sneak into the Neighborhood Ball to see Beyonce and them :-)

Posted by: hoos3014 | January 14, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree with jukeman1.
I have been checking everywhere for information on how to get tickets to both this and the Kid's Inaugural concert since they announced before that tickets would be available to the "general public" but I guess our definitions of "general public" differ. Each time they seem to announce some new piece of information that they didn't before and I'm getting sick of it!

Posted by: sadie221 | January 14, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh. Bless you, Washington Post. I was just about to cross over to the dark side of conspiracy theories and mutterings about the people I don't know and the connections I don't have. But I'm happy again: two tickets to the Western ball.

It looks like tickets were still available to Southern and Midwestern in addition to Western. For all the other balls, when I tried to click in, I got "You do not have the access to view any of the price codes for this event." As an internet programmer, I can tell you that internet programmers don't always put a lot of thought into error messages: this *could* mean that only people with special usernames can see tickets to the other balls, but it could also mean some coder was too lazy to differentiate between 'sold out' and 'no access.'

Posted by: bug451 | January 14, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Taking your advice, I have snagged two official inaugural ball tickets! There are still some available.

Posted by: phenomena1 | January 14, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

It's now almost 8:30, and I agree with the previous entry. I am a programmer too, and although not much thought is put into error messages, some of the balls look like they are locked out to certain user names. If you're looking to go though, there are still 4 balls available. I know there are a lot of you out there that really want tickets, so I'd say look now! Good Luck! I just bought 4 western tickets.

Posted by: navyflyguy08 | January 14, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Ok so I went and followed the link and got the same as bug451 did, I purchased tickets got a confirmation email but when I check with ticketmaster via the ticketmaster website it doesn't have my info. And since this was purchased through the ticketmaster via pic2009 shouldn't the ticketmaster have my information then? Just checking for validity.

Posted by: ambarry1975 | January 14, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

At 8:15, I snagged 2 western ball tickets, making one little former Utah lady about the happiest girl in the world!

I've been refreshing Washington Post inauguration central about 20 times a day waiting for a good tip- THANK YOU FOR THIS ONE!!!

Posted by: loisopal | January 14, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse


• What happened to Homeland Security warnings of "heightened risk" during Presidential transition?

• How about the late November FBI warning about possible Northeast train station attacks?

• "Amtrak Joe" Biden's longstanding warnings about security flaws along the Amtrak Northeast corridor -- why isn't he waving this whistle stop tour to a halt?

It is both mystifying and frightening to contemplate the unnecessary risk to which President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden are subjecting themselves by going through with Saturday's planned pre-inauguration "whistle stop" train ride from Philadelphia to Washington.

In his farewell press conference on Monday, President Bush seemed to go out of his way to twice repeat that the greatest threat the nation faces is another terrorist attack. At one point in his presser, he said that by giving official voice to the threat, he was not "trying to set something up."

Here are President Bush's exact words:

"There is an enemy that still is out there.

"You know, people can maybe try to write that off as, you know, 'he's trying to set something up.'

"I'm telling you there's an enemy that would like to attack America -- Americans -- again. There just is. That's the reality of the world."

George W. Bush could not have been more plain-spoken, candid and direct. The incoming White House team ignores his words -- which he most likely thought about before uttering them -- at their peril.


OR (if link is disabled): http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 14, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

ambarry1975, it looks to me like the inaug tix site is maybe running on the Ticketmaster platform, but separate from the main Ticketmaster site. Rather than www.ticketmaster.com, it's oss.ticketmaster.com --- wonks, what's OSS? Office of Secret Service? Office of Silly Secrecy? Anyway, I don't find it surprising or unusual that this is separate---hope that helps!

Posted by: bug451 | January 14, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Washington Post! I was at work all day long clicking the refresh button on both the pic2009 site and your website waiting for the instructions on how to purchase tickets to the Neighborhood Ball. I think it's really shady how they in no way made tickets available to the public. I was able to just now buy 2 tickets to the Southern Ball and 2 tickets to the Western Ball. After buying the southern tickets I realized it wasn't at the Convention Center, so went back and bought tix to the Western ball in hopes that Beyonce et. al. will mosy on over to meet their Californian friends at the Western Ball. Now I'll unload the Southern tix on Craigslist! Thanks again for the link to the SECRET website.

Posted by: ambasagou | January 14, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah, and what IS up with Southern being at Armory? My family is all in Georgia, so used to being red states whether they like it or not that they don't even know what to do with themselves since Obama got elected. I would love to go and celebrate with a whole bunch of people like them---but I am NOT going all the way out to RFK. I'm just not. I feel like the South got the short end of the stick, there. Uncool, PIC.

Posted by: bug451 | January 14, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

There was no conspiracy theory about the Southern Ball.

Posted by: phenomena1 | January 14, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

No one got the more of the short end of the stick that the D.C. residents and the youth. So much for this being open to the public. Not one public announcement was made regarding the sale of these tickets. The BGCGW is a great organization, but giving them to the organization is not the same thing as making it accessible to all. I am really disillusioned with this entire process and hope that this is not a precursor for things to come.

Posted by: Princeton_Rambler | January 14, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse


Come stay at the brand new Quality Inn located in historic downtown Baltimore.
In addition to welcoming accommodations and friendly service, our hotel offers a great night’s sleep with our signature Quality Sleeper bed by Serta, 32" flat screen TV’s, wired and wifi high speed internet access, along with fitness and conference centers. The Quality Inn offers a convenient short walk to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor shopping and recreation, and provides easy access to all major highways.

12 miles to BWI
38 miles to DC
Introductory Rate: $168.00 per room/night
For reservation or information: 410-244-6799

110 St. Paul Street, Baltimore MD 21202

Posted by: QIDB110 | January 14, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree strongly with Princeton_Rambler's post: DC residents, as is so often the case, get bugger all. I, like many others here in the District, worked my tail off for Obama for nothing. I am another of Bush's economic casualties and cannot afford tickets to any of the events being held here in my hometown. I feel so excluded that I wish I could afford to go off somewhere else.

I thought perhaps the neighborhood ball would be an acknowledgment of all the hard work Obama's foot soldiers carried out in his name. But, silly me. Like everything else going on around the inauguration, even this requires the right contacts and is not, in fact, open to the "public." Gee, I am really sorry I couldn't donate my time to getting Mr. Obama elected, job-hunting AND the Boys and Girls Club. Does our service count for nothing other than endless messages from the Obama camp patronizingly asking us to host inauguration parties in our living rooms?

Every time I hear another news clip about the various balls and parties being held for the connected and the wealthy, I actually want to cry.

Posted by: LeftyChick | January 14, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Wash Post, thank you for all the updates you have been giving. Without this site I would have been totally in the dark about inaugural activities - this despite calling the PIC and ticketmaster many times in addition to browsing websites. The PIC website is just useless and seems to be made in order to NOT give any useful info.

I am a student and therefore low on funds and grew up in the DC area. I really thought Obama would make good on opening up the festivities to all, but I guess it is business as usual. I will try to get to some of the activities, but I don't think I will be able to bear being in the cold among huge crowds in order to see the swearing-in in person (ie on a huge TV screen in the middle of the mall with 1 million people between me and the area where it is actually taking place).

Anyway, thanks again Inaugural Watch and keep up the good work!

Posted by: maaa | January 14, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

It's almost 10:15p. Appears the Southern is the only option still available.

Posted by: erin81 | January 14, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow, thanks so much!!! I successfully tix for the Western Ball, but how on earth will I actually get hold of them? There was no shipping option and no information about where to pick them up or how they might be shipped.

Posted by: mcneilb | January 14, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Tickets are not being shipped. I secured tickets to the mid-atlantic ball last Friday and received and email today telling me I could pick up my tickets between Friday and Saturday at the convention center. You should get the same email.

Posted by: deltagirl | January 14, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey all you armory people -- I went to a Clinton ball there in 1993 and had a blast -- saw Nelson mandela sitting in the seats and there were 2 hot bands -- one was Robert Cray. BUT -- drive or get a car service because there will be no taxis to pick you up when you are ready to leave. They won't go there.

That being said, I too gave a ton of money and worked for Obama, and never had any response. You have to be a harvard alumni or princeton professor to get into this club. i'd like to see a little recognition that normal people have a role -- and not just rhetoric. And please for goodness sake stop trying to sell me posters and coffee cups! I woudl much rather you take money from corporations and lobbyists and leave me be. You know that they are going to have access anyway -- the money pledge is just window dressing.

Posted by: kaylamom1 | January 14, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed in the way that tickets were disbursed for the balls, in particular the Neighborhood Ball. According to the PIC, a portion of these tickets were going to be set aside for DC residents and it looks like they only considered 1000 tickets to be a fair number for the hundreds of thousands that truly call DC home. Furthermore, I am disappointed with the way they let the public know that these tickets were on sale. I looked at the website all day and even called their office and saw no reports of tickets going on sale. If I hadn't checked my email this evening, I would have found out about the sale of these tickets in the morning. When I did try to purchase tickets, I received a message that stated: "You do not have the access to view any of the price codes for this event. If you wish to contact us regarding this event, please contact us at ticketquestions@pic2009.org". I sent an email to this address, but I highly doubt that someone will actually address my frustation. I am so ready for all of this hoopla to be over.

Posted by: Dee_n_DC | January 14, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Although I am actually still heated about the way this ticket distribution was handled, I am also pleased that I got tickets. Yes, it's to the Southern Ball and I really would have liked to go to the Neighborhood or Youth Balls, but who can complain? I'm going to an official ball! Thank you so much to David (blogger) for providing such great information. I'm extremely annoyed with the PIC, but it's nice that someone is looking out for the people!

Posted by: superfille | January 14, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh and if the ticket numbers are any indication, there are probably about 24 tickets left to the Southern Ball as of 10:45 this evening.

Posted by: superfille | January 14, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

thanks deltagirl! I just bought the tickets so I only have received the confirmation notice. At first I thought it was a fake site - it seems too surreal to be true that they would sneak it past the public...

Posted by: mcneilb | January 14, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know how or where we are supposed to get Western ball tickets. We have called our Congressional office, but even they are not sure how those tickets will be distributed, all they know is that they do not have them. And this pic web site is completely useless !!!!

Posted by: nata_me | January 14, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I really feel as if the PIC has mishandled the huge demand to be part of this inauguration. I can't even argue against that a little bit. But it's just not true that you have to be someone important to have gotten some official balls tickets. Believe me when I say I am nobody.

I wish I could throw a Nobody Ball. I'd invite all of you. And we'd have more fun than the officious, important political insider types anyway ;)

Posted by: bug451 | January 14, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I purchased 4 tickets to the Southern Ball at Face Value from the PIC site. Who cares if it is at the Armory. I went to Bush 05 and the Convention Center was so crowded with so many balls going on there.

Anyway, Do they mail tickets via fed ex? How do we get the actual tickets?

Posted by: Southernballer | January 14, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I am in disbelief how the PIC handled this. I was a campaign volunteer and live in the real DC (walking distance to convention center - is that "Neighborhood" enough?) and had no inkling of the ticket release other than this posting. Thank you Washington Post, even though it was too late for me. I've already committed to being a parade volunteer - I am not nearly as interested in getting up at 4 am to work a 12 hour shift. The PIC should have thought of that.

Posted by: msinwdc | January 14, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

As a youth, I think that I speak for everyone that this is such bull****. The youth did what they could and only if you donated a ton of money or were on the connected list did any of these people get tickets. What about all the broke youth in college that worked so hard for the democrats? We really got the short end of the stick... and it appears that the D.C residents did as well. Way to show your support to the lowly people that got you where you are. They would have been better off having a raffle for tickets in the different regions.

Posted by: bugmenotplease | January 14, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

It is very sad that despite Mr. Obama promises of openness and inclusion (in both the election and in the Inaugural process), the ticket distribution system was as secretive as any Bush Inaugural. While I voted for Mr. Obama, I am saddened at the way he has allowed this situation to occur.

Posted by: hoya91 | January 15, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

So I am glad that I will be able to attend an Official Ball (Southern Ball) that Obama will make an appearance at. It will be my boyfriend and I traveling for this historical event. It would have been great to have gotten tickets to the Western Ball (because this is where we live) but they were not available anymore. But I am trying not to be bitter, so I would like to know who else is attending the Southern Ball. My boyfriend and I do not know anyone else, and would like to meet new people when we arrive, and I guess we just don't want to feel weird when we are at the ball. Also, are these balls supposed to be super elegant? I have nice cocktail dresses, or should I purchase a gown? What should my boyfriend where a suit or a tux? Thanks.

Posted by: blahag | January 15, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse


I will attend the Southern with my wife, brother-in-law, and his wife. How do we contact you?

Posted by: Southernballer | January 15, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for your response. You can email me at graduate.ag@gmail.com. Then from there I will feel more comfortable giving you more info about myself and my boyfriend :) (name, phone, etc.) I check my email frequently, so email me anytime. I look forward to meeting you, your wife, brother-in-law, and his wife. Talk to you soon.

Posted by: blahag | January 15, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Something doesn't seem right about the site to get tickets. We got a couple of tickets for the west/southwestern regional ball. There is an official western ball and an official southern ball. There is no listing for the west/southwestern ball on any inauguration site - nor were there any instructions on tickets, location, time, etc. We thought this site was a scam and canceled the transaction with the credit card company. Something just didn't seem right about this! Also, when purchasing tickets via ticketmaster, there is an encrypted word that one usually has to type in before tickets are alloted. There was was no official sign in for ticketmaster. How does anybody know this is an official site? Things didn't seem to match up.

Posted by: pbaade | January 15, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse


are you sure there was not an encrypted word? i remember typing one in before the purchase of my tickets. i also got an email confirmation of my ticket purchase. but my question is how the tickets purchased will be distributed. i am leaving to d.c. friday night. i put in my billing address, but i don't think it ever asked me to enter my mailing address. now i am very worried. :(

Posted by: blahag | January 15, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Bravo Washington Post!!! I happened to log on for latest news and saw this story. I clicked on the links and bought 2 tickets to the Southern States Ball. I live in Texas so that's ok with me. Although it's removed from the other balls, it won't be as crowded. For me, the stars of the ball with be President Obama and the new first lady so I don't care who is performing.

Any other tips from prior ball goers or D.C. residents?

Posted by: Lanaben | January 15, 2009 2:34 AM | Report abuse


I know I didn't enter an encrypted code for the tickets. Although the web site looked authentic, I think it was missing too much info. We called the number listed at the bottom of the transaction for questions (202)651-2009) - because we had questions (ie, location, time, picking up tickets, etc. We asked if this was an "official" ball - they said yes. The person put us on hold several times - like he was answering other lines. I hate to sound sceptical - but something just is doesn't seem right about the site.

Posted by: pbaade | January 15, 2009 2:36 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to add that it's my understanding that the reason you can't access certain balls is because the are trying to match residents to their respective regional ball, hence the requirement to register and give your address before you access the ball option page.

Posted by: Lanaben | January 15, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse

I checked the PIC website every day for
information on the price of the affordable
grassroots tickets promised. No ticket information was ever posted. I inadvertently found out that the tickets to
the neighborhood ball were sold out when I read the Washington Post article. On Friday
January 9th, I was told that 5,000 tickets
would be available on the Ticketmaster.com website. I went into the site at 12:40pm and continued unsuccessful attempts to purchase two tikets until 3:30 pm. Later
I found out that all 5,000 tickets were
gone one minute after 1:00pm sales
began. I was one of the totally committed Obama volunteers that worked all the way up to 7:30pm election night. I rallied support through phone calls,canvassing neighborhoods and voter registration all the way up to October 6th. I hosted a platform party with fifty attendees as well as two fundraisers at my home that brought in $1,430.00. I was so committed to the whole movement that I booked my trip to the inauguration October 11th and I can't even buy a ticket to a single event. I was excited to hear that for the first time ever, people at the grassroots level would have an opportunity to participate in this inauguration. Unfortunately, I didn't have an inside connection and got left out in the cold.
I am extremely disappointed in the lack of transparency around these inaugural events. events.

Posted by: princess3 | January 15, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

It's unfortunate that people are angry. They probably thought long and hard about how to make sure scalpers didn't get the tickets and finally made the Boys & Girls Club decision.

For those of you complaining about how hard you worked, well what about the rest of us spread across the country who can't even go to the parade. I tramped around in the rain on election day, I donated money, I don't get to go anywhere at all. You had to know you had a small chance of getting one of 5,000 tickets, even living in D.C. The point is to join in across the country, and we will. Hope you do too.


Posted by: sandnsea | January 15, 2009 4:11 AM | Report abuse

i'm disappointed. though 1000 free tix to the neighborhood ball is great, that is definitely not open to the dc neighborhood since there's more than 1000 people in the neighborhood who'd love to go...guess it's open and free if i sit at home and watch it on tv.

i got southern ball tix last night. logging on today, it appears that the mid-atlantic and neighborhood balls have officially sold out since the website says sold out. the others however won't let you buy tickets, at least if you didn't get a special secret handshake passcode link. maybe not all the special secret handshake passcode people have clicked on their links to obtain their free ball tickets.

this is so frustrating and completely not transparent.

Posted by: peaceyall | January 15, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

So, I had the same bangs of concern this morning about whether that site was real or not. However, what I will say is that an oss.ticketmaster.com... address is one the is commonly used to funnel special ticket offers to individuals in fan clubs or who are taking advantage of other special promotions. So, I would guess the site is real. That makes me feel a little better, but I'm still worried.

Posted by: superfille | January 15, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

All-- I double-checked with my source who sent me that ticket link. He is an Obama insider who said he bought tickets at that same link last week, so he's confident it is a legitimate, official ticket link.
- Dave Nakamura, washington post

Posted by: nakamurad | January 15, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

It may well be that those of us who feel shortchanged would not have gotten a ticket. That is not the point. The PIC promised us a thank you for all the inconvenience we will be put through and for the massive support the District gave Obama(we voted more heavily for Obama than any other section of the US). The PIC raised expectations here and then in its wisdom decided to cherry-pick recipients and allow insiders access to Neighborhood Ball tickets in a most non-transparent way. I feel hurt and misled by this decision, as do many of my neighbors, whether they worked for Obama or not.

Posted by: LeftyChick | January 15, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I was online all day yesterday and did not get an email about any tickets going on sell for $25,But keep getting emails about donating money.Why don't the PIC donate a couple of those tickets to my husband and I since we are both early Obama supporters.Once again this whole thing is unfair

Posted by: ladiedee100 | January 15, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm not usually one for comments, but the amount of whining among the people posting here is really sort of irritating. People seriously need to chill out. Look, this is a massive event being planned on an extremely tight timetable with potentially millions of people wanting to attend.

I am one of the masses like all of you (albeit live and work in D.C.). I have not used connections for anything. I didn't get swearing-in tickets, which would have been nice but oh well, that's supply and demand. I was lucky enough to land one of the parade tickets the old-fashioned way (by reading about it in the paper and being one of the lucky ones on Ticketmaster). After hearing about the sale of ball tickets I purchased a couple for myself and my family who are visiting. If I hadn't though I would have simply taken it in stride and enjoyed an historic weekend.

Seriously, it's time to get over it, enjoy this great occasion for our country, and be happy with what we've all achieved. There are plenty of public events for all to enjoy (most of all the swearing-in and concert on the Mall). And let's quit the whining.

Posted by: dh2009 | January 15, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

ladiedee100, pretty sure that the person posting about $25 tickets was talking about the sale for bleachers parade seats that happened last Friday. I've not heard anything about anyone selling official ball tickets for $25 and I wouldn't believe it unless Obama himself told me it was so.

Posted by: bug451 | January 15, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

People aren't upset because they don't get to go to the balls; I don't think many people would normally expect to get tickets. It's the complete failure to deliver on promises of transparency and inclusion for this area.
As a DC resident, I am bracing for impact and hoping it all goes smoothly. Most of us will be essentially under house arrest for the weekend, especially with the weather and the overcrowding on the Metro system. But that was ok, because I'm excited about what this means for the Country. And early on, the PIC couldn't stop talking about how they were going to include the District and host events just for "us."
But the truth is, it isn't for "us" and that's the source of disappointment. This is no different than when McDonalds runs the Monopoly game and it turns out that all the winners were connected to the company that printed the tickets.
I, as usual, feel like an outsider looking in, but this time I had been given hope and it just makes it all the more difficult.

Posted by: jrlynn | January 15, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

There are four balls with tix available, but every one gives "You do not have the access to view any of the price codes for this event".

Posted by: Hemisphire | January 15, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@ jrlynn,

I am in total agreement with your comments. I too am a DC resident and previously posted on this forum. Like you, I am disappointed at the PIC because they did say they were going to include DC residents and it looks like DC residents were not truly considered as previously stated.

Perhaps all true DC residents, not DC metro residents, were expecting more for once in a while. Every day many of us drive our cars with license plates that say "Taxation without Representation" and this was probably going to be the first time that we were going to be recognized and we were excited!

But once again we got "taxed". So to dh2009, if it seems like we are all whining, some of us really have just cause to whine. DC residents got pimped once more and this time it was by the PIC!

Posted by: Dee_n_DC | January 15, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@bug451: In theory, the Neighborhood ball tix did sell for $25.

Even though I did get tickets to one of the balls, I'm very disappointed in the process. I paid $327 for two tickets and was given no indication of where to pick them up or any details about the event.

The oss.ticketmaster.com site looks like a bad phishing scam...I had to think long and hard about putting my CC info in there.

I signed up for alerts on the PIC site. All the tickets are gone but I still haven't received any alert. What was the point? The Obama team was WORLD CLASS when it was asking for money every day (they're still doing this BTW), but when reward time comes around they're all cloak and daggar.

Yes, I'm whining. Yes, I will have a good time. But citizens and Obama supporters have a right to be disappointed in the process. We understand the scarcity, just be upfront about the way its done. They could have even made a game of it.

Posted by: hoos3014 | January 15, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Hi, I posted earlier on here about the tickets. I have just talked to the PIC, and the word is that the tickets purchased on the website will be sent over-night to your address that you supplied. For the most people that bought tickets because of the timing the link supplied was posted, that means most of you will receive it on Friday.

Posted by: navyflyguy08 | January 15, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse


Hi, I just spoke to the PIC and they transferred me to ticket master. Ticketmaster took my username and passcode, and told me they would have to call me back because they are also unsure if they are going to be at will-call or overnighted. My flight is tomorrow night, so I am really hoping that my tickets are at will call so I do not have to deal with the stress of not being able to get my tickets. It is a dream come true to be at an "Official Ball". I will let all of you know what the info is as soon as ticketmaster calls me back. And for those that were doubting the ticket purchase site was legitimate, well guess what it is. So go back and un-cancel your transaction! :)

Posted by: blahag | January 15, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I have two official Southwest/Western Ball tix with the face value of $150. The Youth Tickets and Neighborhood tickets were only $75 and $25 respectively. I'd like to swap with no money changing hands (that's not what this inauguration is about and Congress is working on legislation to make it illegal... Senate has already passed). I'm a young person and more of the people I know have tix to the Youth or Neighborhood. I wish to meet up with them.

I'll trade 2 W/SW tix for 2 Youth or 4 Neighborhood (I've got too friends who are too old to get into the Youth ball)... either way your coming out ahead.

Let's meet Saturday at the Convention Center.

Only if you're serious contact me at yireh@email.com

Posted by: HappyCitizen | January 15, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The website that we bought our tickets from is now inactive. On the intro page is a note, saying that all orders placed after Monday, January 12th at 10am must be picked up at a will-call. Of course, the will-call is not listed, and we're told to call the same old, difficult-to-reach-anyone number 202-651-2009 to find out where and when we can get our tickets.

Posted by: mcneilb | January 15, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I want to let you guys know that I will need to pick up will call. Your will call is wherever you Official Ball is taking place. I spoke to PIC and ticketmaster about this. But be aware that ticketmaster did charge people for shipping and handling. Since our tickets are at will call we should not have to pay this fee. Ticketmaster told me I have to speak to PIC about this, and I will. I do not want to be paying for service that is requiring me to pick up tickets.

Posted by: blahag | January 15, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Why does the right hand not know what the left is doing??? It's 1:27 PM and I just got off the phone with PIC, who said "my understanding is they are overnighting to arrive tomorrow, but if they don't get there in time, go to will-call." Which is not a helpful answer for those of us traveling from out of town. And it turns out, it's not even right per the message on that Ticketmaster site (THANK YOU, mcneilb).

BTW, apparently Will-Call is Room 156 at the convention center, and is open all day Saturday and Monday. But this is info from the Inaugural Committee and as such should be regarded as suspect until confirmed :>

Posted by: bug451 | January 15, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Ha. Better yet. When I go to actually log in to the Ticketmaster inauguration site to doublecheck my ticket info, I get this error after submitting my password:

"Sorry, your request could not be completed at this time."

Sure hope y'all printed out your confirmation pages.

Posted by: bug451 | January 15, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I just called the PIC office to ask if there were any more tickets left. Anyway, I told her about the link I saw on this site and she said that the link on the Washington Post was a fraudulant link. She said that the only way to get tickets is through PIC. The number I called was 1-202-651-2009. She was pretty firm about it. I don't know who is telling the truth. All of this stinks. I find it unbelieveable that the $25 tickets sold so fast the other day. I was on the site before 1 and it immediately said no tickets were available. I don't know who to trust now.........Hope the tickets you all purchased really are legit.

Posted by: cfand3boyz | January 15, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The fifth time I called PIC, the guy said he can take my account number and confirmation number, check the details, and get back to me. So I am no waiting for Max's call. PIC is consistently saying UPS will deliver while Ticketmaster is consistently saying Will Call. TM is saying will call starts today while PIC said it starts Saturday.

Posted by: Southernballer | January 15, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Let's be real. This is a pay-to-play town. If you didn't community organize for the Obama campaign, round up contributions, or otherwise help the effort in a significant way, then the campaign/PIC could care less about you when it comes to inaugural ball tickets. That's the way it has been and will continue to be. Obama's team is skillful on PR but don't believe the hype.

Posted by: dtrapp | January 15, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm not really getting anywhere, either. Luckily, I live a couple of blocks away from the convention center, so if I get home from work in time, I'll go by and see what I can learn.

I saw the link to the site posted on other blogs, and even an official Dem site (from Iowa). Plus, David (who writes the blog) posted again, saying it's most likely real. The e-mail address they had doesn't show up anywhere else that I can find, but I imagine that, since it's so specific to ticket sales, it's understandable.

Interesting that my card hasn't been charged yet.

Posted by: mcneilb | January 15, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I just got an e-mail back from the PIC address I wrote to yesterday. I can pick tickets up from the convention center, Room 146, open these hours:

Jan 16, 17, 18: 8 am - 9 pm
Jan 19: 8 am - 7 pm

I probably won't get home in time tonight, but I'll let everyone know tomorrow morning.

Oh, they want ID and proof of purchase!

Posted by: mcneilb | January 15, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

When you locals pick up your tix from the convention center tomorrow in room 145 (I was told room 156 earlier), would you make sure that you verify that they are legit tix for entrance into the official balls? If you can check with perhaps the official pic office there and compare your tix for authenticity. Scam artist can print some pretty authentic professionally looking tix, also. So would you please verify from an authentic source there, before we fly out there and go to will call and pick up professionally looking "unofficial" tix, and cannot get into the ball? Let us know, please. Thanks.

Posted by: eyerep | January 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

My card was charged as soon as I bought my ball tickets. "CKCD AUTH 01/14 PRESIDENTIAL I." I'm not really worried about the PIC lady who said the link was a fraud. It's become abundantly, *abundantly* clear that the people answering phones at PIC don't know much. I'm guessing they're volunteers, and as such god bless 'em, and *also* it wouldn't be their fault if they're not given enough info to answer callers' questions correctly. But someone at the top of that food chain ought to be freshening his or her resume, because this whole official ball situation is one cat in a bird cage away from being an epic fail.

Posted by: bug451 | January 15, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

looking for facevalue southern ball tickets. at least one:


Posted by: texasdaniel | January 15, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse


I wrote earlier because I thought the link was a fraud. I called ticketmaster in DC and they said many people are calling them about their tickets. She gave me the same number listed on the order form - 202-651-2009. I am still skeptical - because you can have the site take orders, but the number could be real. She did say people have been concerned about it. She also said she could no longer look up the orders. She said Ticketmaster was helping the pic out. I told her this was not done in a professional manner. No place to pick up tickets, doesn't ask where the tickets will be mailed. Doesn't have any facts. I told her we canceled our tickets because we thought it was fraud. It just doesn't seem right. I am still waiting for a call from the PIC to confirm my order - and tell me it is authentic.

Posted by: pbaade | January 15, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I feel like Jericho, Kansas after the bomb went off in Denver and nobody knows whats going on in the outside world. Except this time, it is in the inside world.

Posted by: Southernballer | January 15, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I have a BAD feeling about this. I am going to go the "Will Call" office first thing tomorrow and see if these tickets are legit. I will report what I find.

Posted by: hoos3014 | January 15, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

thanks hoos 3014 - doesn't this seem a little strange? I left two messages for the PIC to call me back - so far nothing! I think it's strange ticketmaster said they were helping the pic out - but again, there seems to be a lot of missing or unknown info! The site where we ordered the tickets should at least give the location and where to pick up tickets. They don't even ask where they should be mailed! Let us know what you find out!

Posted by: pbaade | January 16, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

I am also interested in selling my Southern Ball Tickets and/or my Black Tie and Boots Tickets in Exchange for tickets to the Youth and/or Neighborhood ball.

If you are serious, you can contact me at jlparker@stanfordalumni.org.

Thank you so much for this blog! It really helped get the word out to the public as promised! Unfortunately, the PIC did not do the same.

Posted by: jlpbattle | January 16, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed with the PIC. You can give $ and work like a dog. If you don't know anyone, you will not see a ball. I think we should have a Nobody Ball like someone suggested.

Posted by: tmfrazier | January 16, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I went over to the convention center today, and there is a HUGE line to pick up tickets. They told me I am in the system and the tix are official, but... THEY SHIPPED THEM THROUGH UPS YESTERDAY EVENING. Soooooo stupid.... I live a couple of blocks away from the Convention Center!!!! So I'm waiting at home for them to arrive...

Posted by: mcneilb | January 16, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

mcneilb: Were you able to hear/see other people talking to the Will Call people; if so, were most people being told to wait for UPS, or did you see many folks being handed paper tickets? I'm wondering how many people waiting in that giant line don't need to be there at all...

Please let us know when you get your tickets. And thanks so much for reporting back again. If you see a dark-haired woman in a gold open-backed gown and white elbow gloves at the Western ball, that'll be me; you should introduce yourself and claim the drink I owe you as a thanks for your intrepid reporting :D

Posted by: bug451 | January 16, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone who's gotten tickets gotten any information on the Ball itself? Whether there will be a drop-off area, where to go, etc.

My husband uses a wheelchair and I'm trying to find out if any handicapped parking will be available. Metro will be difficult for us to do.

Is there any info available? I have no tickets yet and no one answers or returns calls from that 651-2009 number, and no email response either.

Posted by: lrw2a | January 16, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Thanks bug451! :) I'll try to appear presentable.

When I arrived, there were 2 lines. One was for Ticketmaster-acquired tickets, while I guess the other could have been for those who donated money and received tickets for their generosity (something that was available on the pic website). Several dozen staff were available to help those who got theirs from Ticketmaster. The two people behind me got tickets without much delay - I assume most people should get them quickly because I could plainly see hundreds or even thousands of tickets behind the partially-drawn curtains in the back of the room. However, I was told that the people who ordered on Wednesday or Thursday would get theirs through UPS. I asked for a tracking number but I was told it wasn't entered in yet. The volunteers seemed to have dealt with this issue before, but I couldn't get a straight answer on whether they'd arrive today. I was told that they SHOULD arrive, but that if they don't, I should come back to the convention center.

I don't understand the logic, honestly. Today, where are the people who bought tickets? All over the world. On Tuesday, where will everyone be? Here in DC. Doesn't make sense to me to ship them all over and risk that people might already have left their homes to come here.

Posted by: mcneilb | January 16, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

This whole thing is ridiculous. I have been on hold with the PIC for at least 5 minutes trying to get answers. I don't think I'll be getting any. For the person who went to Will Call and was told your tickets were mailed, did you ask other questions or did you leave? If they were being over-nighted, some type of reference number should have been given. I would not have walked out of Will Call without my tickets. The PIC is jerking us around and I am furious.

Posted by: shamone | January 16, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

You've hit the nail on the head, mcneilb. I used to live in DC but moved to NJ recently. I'm driving down first thing tomorrow, and I will be *mighty* put out if I have to "swing back by my house" (i.e. a six-hour round trip) on Monday because I've found out that's where my ball tickets are!

Posted by: bug451 | January 16, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

i just spoke to a woman at the pic hq (had to call a few times to get through) and she said if you purchased your tix on Wed evening, then they were shipped overnight delivery yesterday...so we should be receiving them today.

Posted by: mrl33 | January 16, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

shamone, I understand the feeling when you said that you wouldn't leave until you got tickets. I was politely insistent for about 20 minutes, but I wasn't making any progress. If I don't get them in the mail by 7pm, I'll pack dinner and some coffee, walk back over, and stay as long as it takes.

I'm optimistic, though. I also got tickets to the Inaugural parade, and I went through the same exact issues. I got a reference number that didn't work, nobody knew anything when I called, yet they actually arrived by mail a day early.

Posted by: mcneilb | January 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

mcneilb, that's good to know. Give me a little hope. I mean, isn't that what this thing is all about? ;)

Posted by: shamone | January 16, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

:) That's a fantastic way to put it shamone!

sorry for using all caps here, but...

MY TICKETS HAVE ARRIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They came in an overnight UPS envelope with a letter saying the PIC people are pleased to offer them to me, and for some reason they included a map for the swearing-in. I also got a couple of maps and two copies of the swearing-in program as "keepsakes" when I went to the convention center. But hey, PIC didn't make sense before, so why should it now?

Posted by: mcneilb | January 16, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. UPS has been to my house already today morning with another overnight package. I would think that their logistics are finely-honed enough that they're not going to come to my house two separate times in one day.

ANTSY. So glad I was off this week. I wouldn't have gotten one single productive thing accomplished otherwise.

Posted by: bug451 | January 16, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

thanks everyone so much for all the useful info.

mcneilb, congrats on finally getting the tix! did the envelope require a signature for delivery, or is it something they could just drop off?

Posted by: beatcal | January 16, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

They did not require a signature, strangely enough.

Bug451, did your morning package come via priority overnight service? Mine was a "Next Day Air Saver". It had a working tracking number. It was sent by PIC at 25 Louisiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20001. Jeez, that's my zip code... What a waste of money.

Anyway, my point is that you may get it later. Right? I've seen cases where the priority shipments went out on separate trucks.

Posted by: mcneilb | January 16, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I am stressing. I live in California and I leave for my flight at 6 pm tonight. Usually UPS comes around 7 pm to my house. I really hope UPS comes earlier today, or if not I really hope my tickets are at will call. This really sucks... :(

Posted by: blahag | January 16, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, good call. My envelope was a Next Day Air, which I think is guaranteed morning delivery, whereas Next Day Air Saver (like your package) is afternoon. So there's still hope I may see a happy brown truck pull up in front of my house...

Posted by: bug451 | January 16, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

oh, blahag, how terribly frustrating for you. Deep breaths!

Do you have a friend or neighbor who could check your house for you tomorrow morning? If it requires no signature, maybe they can pick it up, and ship it to where you are staying in DC for Monday delivery. Monday is MLK Day so USPS won't be running, but I'm pretty sure UPS and FedEx both are.

Posted by: bug451 | January 16, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

hey guys, UPS at least operates on MLK Day so that's a great idea. That almost unfathomable no-signature-required delivery sounds like it may actually work in your favor!

Still, though, I looked up the Air Saver and it's intended to get packages to you by about 4:30pm. So hopefully it's a moot point...

Posted by: mcneilb | January 16, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Irw2a - parking will be extremely difficult if not impossible at the convention center. Metro is well-equipped, however, to handle people with disabilities. They have a large elevator, which takes you up to the entrance to the convention center, though I don't know where the handicapped entrances are.

Posted by: mcneilb | January 16, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse


Here is the link to the Convention Center's info about Accessibility. I can tell you that there are elevators and ramps in the Metro and all over the building, so that shouldn't be an issue for you.



Just got back from picking up my tickets. I'm happy to report that they are real!! Western Ball tickets are big, yellow and keepsake worthy. There are instuctions printed on the tix that tell you which entrance to use on Tuesday.

Like McNeib said, there was one line for us Ticketmaster people and one line for "other". The line for "other" had about 300 people waiting while you could just walk right in the Ticketmaster line. It is room 146B.

I was REALLY nervous because all the bad info made me think that the web site was fake. There were like 30 stations staffed by volunteers. The volunteers don't have tickets...the woman working the next station was flirting with me, asking if I had a date :-)

For whatever reason, my tickets were ready and I was done in less than five minutes. The girl next to me was from out of town and her tickets are somewhere in the UPS system. It makes no sense whatsoever.

On the way out, I saw a college friend in the "other" line. She was there to pick up tix, but didn't know which ball she would get. Very confusing...I wish I had asked her how she had come to be in the line (volunteer, General Public, donation, etc.) but I was too excited. I will ask her on Facebook and report back.

We should have a pre-Ball party for all of us who were traumatized by the crappy oss.ticketmaster.com web site :-)

Good luck!

Posted by: hoos3014 | January 16, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

hoos, your pre-Ball party is an awesome idea, and if I knew of a single place in the DC metro area that wasn't likely to be packed to the rafters already, I'd be all over it. I'm betting that no one wants to get together in like Manassas or Gaithersburg though ;)

Posted by: bug451 | January 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

hey everyone - I got an e-mail notification from UPS that my tickets were shipped, along with a tracking number. So I assume that if you didn't get an e-mail, your tickets are at will-call. This is just crazy!

Posted by: mcneilb | January 16, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

mcneilb: you got this notification after the fact??

It's 5:30 and I have not seen the UPS guy. I guess I have to assume my first stop in DC tomorrow will be the convention center. Maybe *that's* where the pre-ball party is.

Posted by: bug451 | January 16, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

All and Hoos,

Thanks for all the info and research. I talked to PIC twice today. Claudia said we do have three tickets - so it appears that this site is legit. Also, my card was charged - and the credit card company says if we don't get the tickets they will refund our money. But the big question -- WHERE ARE THE TICKETS? At first they said we would get an email telling us where to get them, then I said "no, we didn't get any email" - then she said they will be overnighted - "no, we have not received them" - then she gave me room number at the convention center - to pick them up. I told her this was very poorly handled - with the lack of info provided it seemed like a scam. Anyways, it does look like we will be going!!!! : )

Posted by: pbaade | January 16, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I, too, am extremely disappointed in the presidential inauguration committee. As a DC resident who doesn't "know someone," I thought that perhaps the Obama's really were going to take care of their new neighborhood. Sadly, I was mistaken and it appears to be business as usual. This combined with the general disorganization of this inauguration is quite frankly, insulting to the DC community. I'm no longer volunteering to help at this event, specifically in response to the PIC's actions. If they want DC residents to help out, perhaps they should at least have a small shread of respect or appreciation for us.

Posted by: kate1982 | January 16, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame you for not volunteering. The thing that gets me is that when I called and inquired about this the lady got snippy with me and LIED. She said it was a fraudalent link. At the same time the other people were calling and they were telling them how they could get their tickets.

Posted by: cfand3boyz | January 16, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

God I hope Obama runs the country better than his committee is running the ticket distribution.

I called PIC (Pres. Inaug. Comm.) 70 plus times yesterday (Thursday) to find out where to get tickets that I bought Wed. night. It was the official Southern Ball. They could not give me a straight answer. It went back and forth between mail (UPS) and pick up at the convention center. Ticketmaster kept saying it is Pick up/will call. Ticketmaster then closed.

What a fiasco. So today around lunch time, I went to the convention center to find out what is going on. I got in the Ticketmaster line which had no line. The donor line was separate, and was very long. The irony, the people that donated to Obama, had to wait in like a 3 hour line. I finally got my tickets and no UPS has shown up. If I had listened to PIC, I would still be waiting for UPS.

I complained to somebody at the Ticket Pick up. I am hoping I get 4 more tickets by UPS, so I can sell those 4. I sold 2 of my 4 for double face value (nothing outrageous just 300 each). That allowed me to basically get the tickets for free.

Post needs to do a story on this fiasco of a distribution. I feel very lucky to get the tickets.

BTW, Bug451, its me, who you have been e-mailing over the last few days. The guy in DC.

Posted by: Southernballer | January 16, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh hai! Glad everything worked out. Did the PIC volunteer who handed you your tickets recognize your voice??

Posted by: bug451 | January 16, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Bug451: No she did not recognize my voice. However, I got a letter from Eric Holder that the President has directed him to seek a restraining order against me from coming within 1000 yards of PIC. Kidding of course. Did you ever get your UPS?

Posted by: Southernballer | January 17, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

If you'd called one more time, it wouldn't be a joke :D

No, I never did see a UPS man this afternoon. By now I've worked myself up into a low-grade snit that I'm likely to lose three hours or more of my first visit back home to DC in over a year that wasn't only a day trip, to standing around in a line at the convention center. If at the end of that line I find that some UPS driver in New Jersey actually has my tickets, "low-grade" will cease to be an accurate descriptor.

Posted by: bug451 | January 17, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

For all you people who were able to get ball tickets you ought to feel blessed.Either by design or incomptance the PIC has done their job to keep the citizens of DC out in the cold.if anybody files a class action law suit i would lpke to know

Posted by: IWhitejr | January 17, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

i got an email from UPS saying i had a delivery from PIC2009. so the tix are for real, but UPS screwed up and didn't see an apt # so didn't deliver it. i had to call them and the lady said, yeah there is an apt # so not sure why they didn't see it. now i have to hope that UPS delivers it on monday. if they don't, i'm not sure what to do.

Posted by: peaceyall | January 17, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company