The growing cost of festival season

When the Facebook notifications start rolling in announcing shuttle passes and Weekend 1 tickets for sale, you know it can only mean one thing: festival season. Given our relatively close proximity to Indio, Calif., many students at the University of San Diego decide to dole out the big bucks to attend the Coachella or Stagecoach music festivals. With tickets in high demand, students normally jump at the chance to attend, hardly blinking at the enormous sticker price associated with these types of festivals.

While students normally overlook the price of attending these festivals, justifying it with great lineups and a weekend spent with friends, costs can quickly add up. Between the ticket itself, which ranges between $350 and $400 for a basic ticket, plus shuttle passes, hotel rooms or camping fees, food and drinks while at the festival, and rocking your perfect festival season outfit, the cost of one weekend can quickly total more than $1,000. For some, that may be within budget. For most college students, however, spending that kind of cash requires some serious consideration.

Senior Alec Bangert pointed out that the cost of the ticket is easily justified when you consider the volume and caliber of artists you get to see.

“If you add up the price of how much it would cost to see each individual artist, the ticket more than pays for itself,” Bangert said. “It’s also a really fun environment to be in and experience with all your friends, especially considering Coachella’s setting, surrounded by beautiful mountains and palm trees. Plus, the cost also includes a variety of amenities. This year, there was an IMAX theater with a really cool show, and the most up-and-coming technology as it relates to light shows and visuals.”

Senior Elisa Flores echoed this sentiment and noted that planning ahead can lessen the sticker-shock.

“I decided to go to Coachella mainly because we had gotten a group together that wanted to go, and it seemed like a great way to spend time with friends while listening to good music,” Flores said. “I started saving for my ticket since the last time I went, which was last year, so that the hit on my bank account wasn’t as harsh because I was already planning for it. I think for the amount of artists you get to see, the price isn’t bad at all. The great thing about festivals is the ability to see so many artists at one time, and that is worth it for me.”

For those that make an annual pilgrimage to these festivals, this type of planning can be key. This can be especially important when planning for accommodations, as prices will be sky-high as the season approaches.

Senior Jennifer Stamos mentioned that even though the festival was well worth it, the added costs make it a little unmanageable.

“This year was my little sister’s and my first time at Coachella, so we didn’t know what to expect,” Stamos said. “We ended up spending an arm and a leg on a hotel and wristband package. While we had so much fun at the festival, I don’t think the price we paid was worth it. I’ll definitely go again, but I’ll try to find cheaper accommodations. And just a tip for future festival goers: wear sunscreen and bring a bandana. Dust storms are no joke.”

For festival newbies, the prices can seem especially outrageous. However, there is something unique about these festivals that keeps people coming back, fully willing to keep on spending.

Junior Cierra Kriese questioned the price she paid before she admitted the ticket price matched the production value of the show.

“This was my first time going to Coachella, and I definitely think the cost was worth it,” Kriese said. “I thought it was a bit much when I bought [the ticket,] but I had never been, and once I realized how much of a production the festival was, and how many different performers I had the chance to see, I enjoyed everything and would definitely spend money on it again.”

While to outsiders the amount of money people choose to spend on large music festivals may seem crazy, it’s clear that those who attend feel that the price is certainly justified. Maybe next time you get that notification telling you there is a last minute ticket up for grabs, find some friends, grab your bandana, and head to the desert. After all, money is meant to be spent, and a great weekend with friends is well worth it.

By Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor