From the Carnivalesque to the Commons

Although I have experienced the festival life from many aspects, I know that there is so much more out there for myself to experience as a festival-goer. But as I graduate college and head into the “real world” I must put my summer traditions on hold to pursue my own dreams in Los Angeles, California. The more I reflect on my own past experiences at Camp Bisco, Electric Forest, or even in Ibiza, I have seen the amount of time and money put into providing great venues for artists to perform…

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EDM promotion is unlike any other music genre. Festival promoters and producers can average $5 million-$25 million per festival depending on the size and popularity of an event. One of the most media publicized festivals Coachella, pulled in $47.3 million in revenue from 158,000 tickets sold in 2012. 

But as I have previously mentioned in my last posts, Electronic Dance Music is on  the rise. This year, Coachella has raked in $84 million dollars with 193,000 tickets sold. As the EDM phenomenon grows, ticket prices to these events have been skyrocketing. For almost any music festival patrons will be paying upwards of $300 for a 3-day camping pass. Sure, you can buy a single day pass for $100, but is it really the festival experience? On top of the ticket price, one may need to think about all the camping necessities and other expenses that festivals call for. Food? Camping Supplies? Transportation? Glitter? And do I dare even say it…Drugs? These are just some of the things that festival-goers needs to think about before their trip.

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Profit is always the main concern from any good business perspective, but how far are promoters willing to increase their prices before attendants start refusing to go? Time can only tell. The most expensive festivals this year are Electric Forest, Mysteryland, and Electric Daisy Carnival with packages ranging from anywhere between $350 to over $1,000 per person.

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This turns us to the question, are promoters taking away our commons and using the land for their own lucrative profits? This is just another case of whether or not free music distribution and music events is a topic that the industry would ever consider. In order to participate in these festival events you need to save up some serious $doe$. But what are you really spending your money on? Is this really worth the experience? Or are EDM fans a pawn in the promoters eyes to gain bigger venues in more exotic locations, just to make a bigger profit.

With an industry that rakes in $6.2 billion+ in profit, it is no wonder that so many festivals are popping up around the country.


In the land of the carnivalesque EDM festivals are as close as you can get to freedom. Should someone really be charged so much to experience nature and music in one location? For myself, the EDM festival tradition is something you cannot trade in for the world. But I do find concern in how much more it will cost for future fans to attend these events. What were once a part of the underground Electronic Music Scene has now become one of the most profitable ventures in the music business and it is growing exponentially.

Time for the festivities to begin…

By Paul Durkin


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