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Music fans able to buy Ravinia tickets online hours before 5 a.m. start time Thursday

Christie Brian Grisko Des Plaines show off Ravinitickets they were able buy midnight April 25 which was five hours earlier

Christie and Brian Grisko, of Des Plaines, show off the Ravinia tickets they were able to buy at midnight April 25, which was five hours earlier than they expected to be able to purchase them online. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: May 29, 2013 7:09AM

Christie Grisko and her husband Brian were checking out the upcoming concerts at Ravinia Festival online Wednesday night when a banner popped up letting viewers know they were in a virtual line as customers ahead of them were being assisted.

“It was overloaded like people were trying to purchase tickets,” Grisko said.

Tickets for Ravinia’s summer lineup — including Sting, Josh Groban and Sheryl Crow — weren’t supposed to go on sale to the public until 5 a.m. Thursday.

The couple waited five minutes until midnight, and they were able to buy tickets – five hours before they were supposed to go on sale.

The Griskos, of Des Plaines, purchased six total – four tickets for Darius Rucker and two tickets for Matchbox 20.

“We don’t know why this happened, but we will look into it and find out what went wrong,” said Nick Pullia, Ravinia Festival’s director of communications.

He confirmed the Griskos were able to purchase tickets early, but was unable to say how many others got their hands on tickets before they were supposed to be available to the public.

There will be an investigation, but Thursday afternoon the priority was taking care of customers trying to buy tickets.

“Today we will sell tickets the equivalent of 10 to 20 United Centers,” Pullia said.

By Thursday afternoon, some shows had already sold out, including Sting, Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban and Journey, according to the website.

The not-for-profit private company raises money through private donors, who have the opportunity to buy tickets before the public.

Some angry would-be customers took to Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustration about the sold-out shows.

Ravinia, which runs its own box office system, increased from three servers last year to 47 this year to handle opening day ticket sales.

The Griskos won’t have to worry about their tickets even though they got them early.

“Those tickets will definitely be honored,” Pullia said.

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