It’s a school night and junior Yasmin Gupta hasn’t studied for a big test in AP Chemistry. Instead she’s rapidly dialing (916) 766-1035 in high hopes of winning the latest concert ticket.
Gupta dials the radio station over and over, as many as 60 times.
After perfectly reciting the eight songs that played in the last hour, Gupta wins two tickets for the G-Eazy and Lil Yachty concert.
This 103.5 KHHM FM competition, “The Hot 8 at 8,” happens every day.
During “The Hot 8,” callers have to listen to eight songs and then correctly list the song titles and artists of the songs in chronological order. The 35th caller to do this successfully wins the tickets.
Considering the slim chances of winning, Gupta has been unusually lucky.
She has now entered three competitions and won three sets of tickets to the sold-out concerts of G-Eazy and Lil Yachty, Kanye West, and DJ Snoopadelic.
Gupta began her lucky streak while sitting in her car with senior Avi Bhullar on a school morning.
They were listening to the radio when they heard they could win Kanye West tickets.
Bhullar and Gupta kept calling that morning, but they didn’t win.
However, after this loss, Gupta was fired up to win.
For the next two weeks she and Bhullar kept calling but to no avail, until one fortunate morning.
Finally Gupta got through to the radio stations after 17 calls and got her shot to list the eight songs just played on 103.5. Once she listed them, she heard what she had been waiting for for the past two weeks.
“You’re right, and you’ve just won tickets!”
It turned out that Gupta had instead won tickets to a G-Eazy and Lil Yachty concert, but she was ecstatic regardless, she said.
In fact, she was so happy that she screamed on the radio.
From then on, Gupta kept on entering competitions because she wanted to get more free tickets for herself and friends or to possibly sell the tickets she won.
Gupta also continued trying to win the West tickets that had first attracted her to the contests.
She called 103.5 for a whole week trying to be lucky caller number 35, she said. After this lack of success, she decided to try just once more.
And Gupta’s luck came through.
Gupta finally won the sold-out West tickets she had spent over two weeks trying to win.
These tickets had prices as high as $250 per ticket, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The high cost of tickets is another reason for Gupta’s passion for competitions.
“A lot of the time, my mom doesn’t want to pay for tickets, and neither do I,” she said.
Surprisingly, Gupta doesn’t consider herself particularly lucky.
Gupta said that people don’t try the competitions because they “get psyched out when they try to win tickets thinking that they’ll never win.”
But radio stations usually hold competitions the whole week, so there’s a huge possibility of winning, Gupta said.
And SCDS students either believe this or they aren’t trying very hard to win.
Of 101 high schoolers who filled out a Dec. 13 Octagon poll, only 11 said they’ve entered concert tickets competitions. And of those 11, only three have won.
Junior Annya Dahmani put her luck to the test on Nov. 28 during an hour-long car ride to the girls’ varsity basketball game at Vacaville Christian, when Gupta told her that she could win sold-out tickets to the Compton-based rapper YG’s concert by entering 103.5’s contest.
For this competition, the 103rd caller won the tickets.
Dahmani said she’s always wanted to see YG, who’s one of her favorite rappers, live.
“I also thought, ‘Why not try, since I have nothing to do during this super-long car drive to the middle of nowhere?’” she said.
So Gupta and Dahmani started telephoning.
Dahmani said that she kept gettin dial tones until the line started ringing after about 30 calls.
“Yasmin (Gupta) said that more than two rings meant you for sure won,” Dahmani said.
She started bouncing up and down since she thought she won, but all of a sudden, the phone stopped ringing and the call ended.
So Dahmani kept calling.
After about 70 more calls, Dahmani gave up since the combination of the calls she and Gupta alone had made would result in more than 103 calls.
Dahmani now believes she didn’t use the right strategy.
Gupta said the best time to call is at night.
“Fewer people are listening (then),” she said. “(Also) during these competitions I call on four phones to maximize my chances of winning.”
Ironically, Gupta’s luck hasn’t held when it comes to the concerts themselves.
Of the two she’s attended, both have been cancelled.
The second set were for the now-infamous West Saint Pablo Tour concert on Nov. 19 at the Golden One Center.
Gupta and her friend arrived 30 minutes early, but West was an hour late.
When he finally appeared on his literal floating stage, he sang only two songs and made up with Kid Cudi, a rapper he was rumored to have had lots of problems with, by hugging him on stage.
Then West and Cudi sang “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1” together, which was followed by a 15-minute rant by West on the corruption of the music industry. West also criticized his fellow top-selling artists, including famous musical power-couple Beyoncé and Jay Z.
After his rant he dropped the microphone, lowered his stage, was unstrapped from the device holding him to the stage, and left.
Most people were reimbursed for their tickets, but Gupta was not as she hadn’t paid for them in the first place.
Luckily, Gupta hadn’t spent any money on West merchandise either, as she said she never buys souvenirs at concerts.
However, she has won a T-shirt and CD that was thrown into the crowd of the Snoopadelic concert she later attended.
Gupta said that she wasn’t mad about the concert being cancelled since she didn’t pay for the tickets, and oddly West’s cancellation eased any worries about the cancellation of the other concert she had won tickets to, Snoopadelic on Dec. 3.
Shortly after West’s concert, Snoop Dogg posted on social media that he would never do what West had done to his fans, Gupta said.
So when Gupta arrived at the Ace of Spades venue for Snoopadelic, on Dec. 3, she knew that this concert would go off without a hitch.
Gupta and her friend found standing room in front of the stage, and they patiently waited for him, she said.
The not well-known opening act performed, but kept adding that he would sing one more song before Snoop Dogg’s arrival, according to Gupta.
But Snoop never showed due to illness, and the concert was cancelled.
Gupta said she was upset mostly because of Snoop’s hypocrisy.
“Snoop was so critical (in the video he posted) of Kanye’s concert cancellation,” Gupta said. “Yet he did the same thing, and it hurt that he did something like that to Sacramento.”
Gupta ended up selling her tickets to the third concert on Dec. 14 (G-Eazy and Lil Yachty) since it was on a school night, and the concert was in Oakland.
However, she sold the tickets for $50, and now knows that she can prosper from her luck.
Maybe Gupta has two-sided luck when it comes to winning, but at least she’s making money off of it.
Right now Gupta is taking a break as there are no concert tickets available.
But she said she’ll start trying again in June, this time for tickets to see Bruno Mars.
She hopes he’ll show up.
—By Katia Dahmani