The Most Expen$ive Mu$ic Fe$tival in the World?

After last weeks fanfare announcement of the Splendour in the Grass 2011 line-up, and now that the dust has settled, it’s time to ask; Is Splendour in the Grass the most expensive festival in the world?

On face value it appears so. $525 for the full price camping ticket, $400 if you want to join the mad scramble trying to book overpriced accommodation elsewhere! The line-up is good, but hey that is still a lot money!

Lets be pragmatic and look at the fundamentals of the festival:

  • The relatively small attendance of 32,000 adds intimacy to the event. The organisers are certainly not trying to squeeze the punters in, to maximize returns.
  • The geographical distance of Australia always adds a certain amount of mileage to the artists tank. Even though the artists management/label would be footing the bills, the festival organisers would be caught between a rock and hard place in terms of negotiating.
  • Competition in Australia is pretty sparse, particularly during winter! And it’s a long way to the fields of Europe!
In a way it’s difficult to compare an Australian music festival held in a southern hemisphere winter against all the northern hemisphere summer festivals? I accept that its probably not a level playing field. Even so the price difference is so severe that one can’t help thinking that this is yet another example of Australians getting ripped off for a luxury product or paying over the odds for international goods. Surely with the Australian dollar being so astronomically strong the organisors will save a few bucks by featuring such a large number of international artists on the bill?
I bet they all want to be paid in Aussie dollars this year?
The most expensive festival in Europe is the godfather of the music festival, Glastonbury.  At £200 ($310) it is an aeon away from its hippy roots, the price has doubled in 10 years, but i guess that’s the price of progression.  Most of the European festivals price themselves between $220 and $300 for 3/4 days. An absolute snip if you’ve got a pocketful of Aussie dollars!  There are all shapes and sizes depending on your preference.
Admittedly there are very few festivals the size of Splendour with such a stellar line-up, with the exception of England’s – Bestival and Benicassim in Spain perhaps.  In fact Benicassim, with a capacity of 50,000, has managed to sign the company of Arcade Fire, Portishead, Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes!  Not bad for $250!  Even the festivals that party for 6 days, Paleo Festival – Lake Geneva and Sziget – Budapest, will only set you back around $300!

Whether it’s the most expensive music festival in the world, which it probably is, is superfluous anyway, because it will sell out in record time and the demand for next year will supersede this!  And it’s not going to get any cheaper!
Anyone want to start a festival? If you build one, they will come!

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