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Music Festival Ticket Pricing Strategies.

Andy Robertson

Music festival tickets are getting a reputation for being overpriced and festival-goers are increasingly balancing their desire to attend an event against affordability. What strategies can festival organisers put in place to arrive at an optimum price that generates sufficient revenue but remains attractive to potential ticket buyers.

There is a plethora of data available online regarding music festival ticket pricing and it can be difficult to make comparisons on ticket prices because of complex ticket options along with differences in size, type and location of festivals. Data from Statista indicated that the average music festival ticket price within the EU in 2018 was about £150, although this includes data from different length events. Statista also published survey data in 2016 that suggested 21% of festival goers considered festival tickets as overpriced. In 2022 the typical price for a 3-day VIP pass is over £1,000 with genral admission prices for the same 3-day event going for about £285.

Establish Costs. 
In the budgeting planning process festival organisers need to ascertain their operating costs including all fixed and variable costs as accurately as possible. They also need to assess the possible revenue expected from sponsors, vendors and merch. Some organisers may choose anticipated ticket sales revenue to cover their costs with revenue from other sources making up the profit element. A thorough exercise in budgetary planning should provide reasonable data on the estimated audience size and ticket prices required. 

Tiered Phased Releases and Payment Options. 
Most festival organisers opt for a tiered and phased approach to selling tickets which gives potential ticket buyers a number of purchase options. Providing 3 or 4 levels of pricing from single day entry up to the full 3-day VIP options allows festival-goers to select the option that fits their budget. In order to generate early revenue, it’s wise to offer an early bird discounted option which is time critical and can generate cash as much as a year in advance. Festival-goers in general prefer to make a buying decisions when at least some of the line-up has been announced and this can help define the timing of phased releases. Offering payment plans to ticket buyers can be attractive although organisers should be aware of any financial services regulations relevant to offering credit.

Added Value. 
Organisers can make their ticket prices more attractive by offering added value as this can help raise the perceived value. Welcome packs and free merch can often make a difference and push the purchase decision. A good deal with a drinks sponsor may be possible where ticket buyers get entitlement to discounts for on-site beverages for example. This drives traffic to a sponsor pitch and adds value to the ticket purchase too. 

As every music festival is different it’s almost impossible to compare one to another and the complex pricing presented to potential ticket buyers does not help in the decision-making process. Organisers should aim to keep their pricing simple to understand and emphasise the benefits. The current inflationary pressure on costs will probably result in higher ticket prices and with an uncertain economy as a whole it’s very difficult to predict the future. Organisers should have robust financial planning and be flexible in how they present their ticketing options and prices to potential ticket buyers. 

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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