Today, Lollapalooza announced that tickets for the 2017 festival will go on sale March 21. Aspiring festival goers have a bunch of options: $120 for a day pass; $335 for a four-day pass; $650 for a single-day VIP pass; $2,200 for a four-day VIP pass; and the ritziest option, $4,200 for the “Platinum” package, which the festival describes as “the ultimate access with luxury perks.”
That’s a lot of moolah to watch whoever’s playing this year’s festival, the lineup of which has not yet been announced. (Radiohead? Chance the Rapper? The xx?) Lollapalooza’s website is very specific about everything the package entails. You get access to private bars and gourmet food, all of it complimentary. You get golf carts to ferry you from stage to stage, as Lollapalooza’s layout is notoriously spacious. (There’s about a mile in between the biggest stages, which takes it toll in the heat.)
There’s a concierge, who provides you with massages and post-festival advice. You get access to a major backstage area, where all the movers and shakers hang out—perfect if you’re trying to do some unobtrusive networking. You even get a spot at the front row of every stage, which is “stocked with a selection of complimentary premium wine and cold beer to keep you quenched while you sing along.”
But the fanciest perk is access to an air-conditioned lounge where the main stage performances are live-streamed on televisions. Conceivably, you could hang out in this cool room all weekend and never have to see a live band, instead getting turbo drunk on a couch as you take in the scene over a screen. Stream Lollapalooza at Lollapalooza—it’s an angel investor’s dream.
Festivals can easily become unpleasant experiences. The sun, dust, sweat, crowds, and dirt wear on a person. The sight lines at the stages are too obscured. The bathroom lines are too long. You get stuck inside of a crowd when you have to pee, and have to decide whether to hold it through the set you’re waiting for, or leave and risk not finding your friends again. Worst, the bathrooms are out of water and sanitizer, and soon you’re living in a grimy, piss-drenched hell.
For the uber-rich, the option to pay a cool $4,200 to rid yourself of these inconveniences is tempting. But it’s also a bit detached, because the inconveniences do add some texture and variety to the festival experience. Big box festivals are themselves a luxury concept, but some of the fun is in finding a way to make all the variables shake out on your side.
Basically, the package just seems like a tremendous waste of money to sand off the edges on an experience that’s supposed to be a little messy and spontaneous. It’s nearly four thousand dollars more than a standard ticket just so you can relax next to someone who isn’t poor. But mostly, if the ability to watch live music without watching live music seems like a perk, you probably don’t need to be at a music festival.