Why The Cost Of Music Festivals Is Out Of Control


Photo: Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Musicheads might be fine with shelling out $300 for a long weekend sipping on wine and home-brewed beer at festivals.  But the rest of us think the price of admission to Coachella, Bonaroo and Lollapalooza is 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 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 event, making it the highest grossing of its kind in the world. Bonnaroo bankrolled $12 million last year, and eight years in, Lollapalooza is still going strong, earning an impressive $11 million for Chicago’s parks in 2011. 

Here are three other ways these festivals are cashing in, according to The Researchist:  

Gourmet goods Coachella rolls out foodie favourites 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 doughnuts ($3) and Estancia wine tastings. 

Glaming it up Care for a camping package for two near scenic Lake El Dorado? At Coachella, that’ll cost you a cool $1,750. If you really want to go all out, the “Roll Like A Rock Star” eight-person RV package at Bonnaroo costs $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 that capture all the good sounds on-stage. This year, Bonnaroo partnered with 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 every splurge, some people are able to rationalize the cost, even if it means spending more for airfare, hotels and a hipster-approved outfit.

So much for being all about the music.  

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