Why The Cost Of Music Festivals Is Out Of Control


By Jill Krasny

Musicheads might be fine shelling out $300 for a long weekend sampling wine and gourmet truffles at festivals, but for the rest of us, the price of admission to Coachella, Bonaroo and Lollapalooza has gotten out of control.

What’s with the high-end makeover and crazy admission prices?

Marketing blog The Researchist says it’s a case of smart marketing and the “trigger-happy consumers” who’ve bought in: “Music fests are asking big bucks from their attendees, which makes upgrading common amenities seem like a no-brainer. And with festivals selling out near-simultaneously, it’s clear that festival-goers have responded to the fancy upgrades in a positive way.”

This year, Coachella expanded from a two-day to three-day fest, making it the highest grossing event of its kind in the world, and Bonnaroo bankrolled $12 million last year. After eight years, Lollapalooza is still going strong, earning an impressive $11 million for Chicago’s parks in 2011.

Here are three ways they’re cashing in, per Researchist:

Gourmet goods

 Coachella rolls out foodie favorites like calamari tacos from Kogi Korean BBQ truck ($3.29) while over in Chi-town, Lollapalooza gets crazy with the candied maple bacon ($3), Do Rite Donuts ($3) and Estancia wine tastings.

Glaming it up

 Care for a camping package for two near the scenic Lake El Dorado? At Coachella, that’ll cost you a cool $1,750. And if you really want to go all out, the “Roll Like A Rock Star” 8-person RV package at Bonnaroo will cost you $26,000.

Cool down in style

 The Dell Lounge at Lolla lets concertgoers cool off in a misting station surrounded by real-time video feeds recording all the good sounds on-stage. This year, Bonnaroo partnered wiht Garnier Fructis to offer fans a round-the-clock cinema with A/C.

There’s no way shelling out nearly $250 for general admission (or up to $1,400 to be a VIP) to a music festival can be good for anyone’s budget. But like everything else that sounds like a splurge, some people are able to rationalize the cost, even if it means spending extra for airfare, hotels and a hipster-approved outfit.

So much for festivals being all about the music. These days it pays to go luxe.

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