“Why are gigs and festivals so expensive?

(August 10, 2016)

“Why are gigs and festivals so expensive? I thought this was the age of austerity with everyone biting the bullet so why are venues and event organisers raking it in when the average audience member is on their uppers?” A good question, however words like ‘raking it in’ is hardly a good place to start and not really likely to prompt reasoned discussion.

Of course, any point of view that verges on a rant is guaranteed to cause friction and less than reasoned discussion. And far be it from me to join forces with the ranks of the ‘raking it in’ but surely an event costs what an event costs. The organisers, venues and myriad of support services have to make a living. After all, like it or not, that‘s the objective of a capitalist society.

I heard those opening remarks being expressed loudly and forcibly with a goodly number of folk agreeing with the individual doing all the ranting. Well, never being one to turn down the opportunity for a healthy debate I adopt the opposite view in stating that ‘the market will stand what the market will stand’. It doesn’t matter what you may feel about your personal politics but events only charge what they can to cover costs and make a crust. I seriously doubt that may set out to 'fleece the customers'.

Yes, there are horror stories of 'events that never were' and we all know about ‘big name’ bands, some already millionaires, that charge ‘galactic prices’ to attend their events, and festivals designed to attract anyone but genuine fans, but that’s only because the gullible or wealthy are prepared to fork out huge amounts of cash to turn up. If folk didn’t turn up, the process would be revised. Capitalism only works if folk are prepared to pay the prices. Conversely, if folk are prepared to mortgage themselves to the hilt to watch ‘named’ bands well that’s fair enough. I doubt that anyone forced them to turn up at gun point.

So if you want good facilities, be they sound system, staging, camping, toilets, food or parking ... then be prepared to pay. Of course, you can always sit in a boggy puddle with facilities from the stone-age or remain cosily at home, righteously indignant and go nowhere.

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