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Jimmy Buffett's free concert is becoming an expensive affair for music fans.
Tickets to Buffett's free concert to show support for the oil spill-stricken Gulf Coast were grabbed up quickly Wednesday and began showing up for sale on eBay for more than $100 each — prompting the online service to ban the sales on its site.
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Gulf Coast residents were among those complaining after the 35,000 free tickets to the July 1 concert on the beach at Gulf Shores were taken in a matter of minutes and then began showing up for sale by apparent scalpers. More than 1,500 comments had appeared on Buffett's Facebook page by midafternoon complaining about how the tickets were distributed.
Buffett, who grew up in nearby Mobile, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown and other stars will take to stage to support residents and businesses hurt by the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that has fouled the water and beaches.
Mary Fryling of Eclectic and her daughter were so excited by news of the free concert that they rented a condo at Gulf Shores for the week of the show. She said they were on the phone first thing Wednesday, hoping to grab some free tickets when they became available at 10 a.m. Instead there was a 10-minute wait, a disconnection and eventually a recording saying the event was sold out.
A short time later, she said the tickets started showing up advertised on eBay for $100 or more.
"I guess the tickets were free for the scalpers," Fryling said.
She said she and her daughter still plan to go and use the condo to catch the show. "We hope to sit on the balcony and see and hear him," Fryling said.
Riley's press secretary, Todd Stacy, said the governor was continuing to investigate why the tickets disappeared so quickly.
Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band will perform. Others joining them will be Allen Toussaint and Jesse Winchester.
The CMT cable network said it will air a portion of the concert live from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Eastern. The concert on the beach is being billed as "CMT Presents Jimmy Buffett & Friends Live From the Gulf Coast."
The performance also will be simulcast on Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio, and streamed on the CTM website.
The ticket snafu isn't the only bad news for Buffett this week. On Wednesday, thick pools of oil from the Gulf oil spill began washing up on miles of Pensacola Beach, where the singer opened a 162-room Margaritaville Hotel earlier this month.
The tar balls have prompted local health officials to warn against swimming in the water.