Camping festivals are getting more costly for music lovers to access, but Strawberry Fields is looking to change that. The music festival, located on the banks of the Murray River, near Berrigan, in New South Wales, is trying to ease the burden on low-income would-be audience members by slashing tickets from AU$330 to half-price for those who qualify.
A Good Test Run Means It’s Going to Stay
After successfully testing this idea out at last year’s festival, Tara Benney, Festival Director, says that Strawberry Fields, now in its tenth year, is set to make this scheme a permanent one, in order to open up the experience to those who would otherwise not be able to enjoy it.
Benney spoke of how festivals can be truly transformative experiences for people: it could be where you meet your best friend, find the love of your life, enjoy some stargazing (of both kinds!) or just finally get to see your favourite musician perform and take inspiration from that. She then added that these were the reasons she was so intent on making sure that less people missed out on visiting Strawberry Fields.
A Case by Case Basis
You no longer need to bank a big win thanks to an online bingo game to get in to see top musicians, and can simply apply for the low-income discount available for Strawberry Fields. These are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and will be subject to criteria including employment status, monthly income, and concession status, all of which will need to be documented.
The concept of a ticket aimed at people with lower incomes is as yet unknown in Australia, but it’s already well established at international events like the massively popular Nevada desert Art Festival Burning Man, says Benney. She concluded by saying that this was something she truly felt that festivals, especially successful ones, should consider making a norm.
Splendour in the Grass? Not So Magnificent
Meanwhile, accusations of overcharging have recently been levelled at the organisers for the Byron Bay outdoor camping festival Splendour in the Grass, thanks to the fee being charged to ticket-holders who have to resell their passes if they can’t go.
The festival, which sold out almost instantly, fetching prices of AU$399 for a three-day pass, is charging an additional 10% for those seeking to purchase a chit from someone reselling theirs, on top of the original price, and along with a booking fee. That’s an increase of AU$39.90 from the flat AU$20 charged in 2017.
Sellers will forfeit their original booking fees and pay an additional administration fee of AU$30: camping and festival tickets are sold separately, too, so ticket holders who want to sell both will be paying AU$84 from the get-go!
Festivalgoers are accusing organisers of scamming would-be attendees, and wondering when it stopped being about the music. No one seems sure of what all these extra fees are in aid of, and the festival itself has declined to comment thus far. Jess Ducrou, Festival Director, has previously stated, however, that minimal profits were being made from these facilities.