For many professional ticket brokers, the long pause on live events from March of 2020 due to COVID was a rare moment of utter halt to their day-to-day business. But for some, the truth was quite the opposite of that.

Aaron Cowan is a Registered Nurse by day, and works as a ticket broker on the side. When his side job got shut down, working on what soon became a COVID-focused ward at his hospital in Detroit, Michigan kept him more than busy.

“All of our patients had COVID, along with an extensive cardiac history,” he told TicketNews. “Myself and my entire staff were on an emotional rollercoaster… We were seeing patients decompensate and “crash” in horrific ways we had never seen before. It was chaotic, exhausting and terrifying, all at the same time. But it was also fascinating to see the live practice of medicine and learning and treating a new disease on the fly. We were learning and improving patient care daily.”

This August, he plans to be among the group making the trek to Las Vegas for Ticket Summit, which is well on the way to being the biggest ticket-focused trade show in history in its combined format with the American Luxury Suite Directors show and ECHL Hockey Annual meetings. As a part-timer with more than seven years experience in the ticket resale business as a side hustle to make extra money for expenses that tend to add up after kids arrive, he is one of more than 1,300 ticketed attendees set to take advantage of the industry leaders and networking opportunities that come with the return of the ticketing trade show.

UpNorth Tickets Ticket Summit is also an opportunity to reconnect with and thank directly some of the ticket industry professionals who stepped up with significant donations to his hospital to help them acquire much-needed PPE in the early days of the pandemic. He singled out Ticket Evolution and 1Ticket, as well as several individual ticket brokers, as having been involved in the assistance drive. There are many stories like that of the altruism that some in the ticket resale community participated in during the pandemic, including TicketNetwork’s Don Vaccaro (whose company helps operate Ticket Summit itself) launching a PPE business to battle the shortages and made significant donations of material to medical providers in its area as well.

Having both worked through the teeth of the first wave of the pandemic, and dealt with a case of COVID himself (as did many on his unit), he is still fully comfortable with being back out in the world, given that he has confidence in the efficacy of the vaccine and its impact on event safety. That Las Vegas has re-introduced a requirement for mask wearing indoors only makes the event that much safer for those who are fully vaccinated to attend.

“I think it’s extremely safe to get out there if vaccinated,” he says. “Is the vaccine 100% [foolproof against infection]? No. But I see it as something of a bulletproof vest – I’d rather have the protection.

“During this current wave, my unit administered hundreds of COVID patients, and only a couple had been vaccinated. Those who were vaccinated were discharged rather quickly.”

Case rates have risen in the United States, causing some concern that event attendance restrictions could be back on the menu, and spurring some areas to require proof of vaccination to be allowed in to events. But data from the CDC continues to show that the risk of serious illness from COVID is largely isolated to those who have chosen not to be vaccinated – less than 1% of those fully vaccinated have seen a “breakthrough” case, with 0.004% of the fully vaccinated seeing a case that required hospitalization.

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For him, the return to normal, though is hopefully here to stay.

“I personally get more joy out of taking my daughters to a Jo-Jo Siwa concert than going to see my favorite artist,” he says. “With my oldest being eight and taking a liking to live sports, I am hoping the border loosens up so I can start taking her to Pistons games.”

Ticket Summit will be back in 2021, returning to Las Vegas for an August show at the Aria Resort & Casino. The annual trade show, which brings together leaders and businesses operating in ticketing and live entertainment, will run from August 15-17 at the hotel located on the Las Vegas strip.

Ticket News will be running stories in coming weeks highlighting speakers and events surrounding the trade show, which is running concurrently with the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD) conference, with expectations that the combined shows will be the largest ticketing-focused trade show in history.

Reserve an all-access pass to Ticket Summit and learn more about the event by visiting For more information follow Ticket Summit’s official pages on LinkedInFacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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