A Festival Concierge

Concerts and festivals have been known to offer up VIP packages for patrons, but four major festivals this year have kicked them up a notch, incorporating a third party to build all-inclusive packages priced at more than $5,000 for two guests.

The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival worked with a company called My Concert Concierge, which puts together high-end travel packages for dust-averse fans. The company was created by businesswoman Donna Boesky and Fearless Entertainment’s Brian Murphy.

Coachella might be an indie music fan’s dream come true, but that doesn’t change the fact that it takes place in the desert with only so many hotel rooms to go around. My Concert Concierge set up one $12,400 package for eight people that included three nights at a private home with a pool, maid service, eight tix with access to the VIP lounge that included separate restroom facilities, and car service to and from the Indio Polo Field.

“Donna brought it together,” Murphy told Pollstar. “I have all the entertainment marketing experience in the world and she has the incentive-loyalty background and online experience. She married the two together.”

The pair was originally building a concierge program for a client that fell through, and decided to keep the idea for themselves. The packages grew out of discussions with Anschutz Entertainment Group and its company Goldenvoice.

AEG, because of its association with Goldenvoice, was promoting two major concerts at the same time: Coachella and Jazzfest.

“They were saying, and we agreed, that there seemed to be a latent interest with the fan to have this soup-to-nuts packaging put together for them, and really a concierge service to build it all for them,” Murphy said.

“[AEG’s Randy Phillips] understood the idea of My Concert Concierge and its overall view right from the start. He was a strong proponent of it, and Paul (Tollett) and Skip (Paige) from Goldenvoice thought it would be worthwhile to provide more value to some of their customers, so they were very much for it.”

Capitol Sports & Entertainment then called the company to service Lollapalooza in Chicago. The company created a low-end $1,200 package for two that includes accommodations at the Best Western Grant Park and three-day passes with re-entry. A $5,450 package for the family includes accommodations at the Wyndham Hotel, luxury transportation and entrance to Kidzapalooza, the fest’s designated children’s area.

“We have very good relationships with William Morris. We were talking to them when Capitol reached out to us about Lollapalooza and I said, ‘Hey, if we’re going to do Lollapalooza, I’d really like to do Austin City Limits,'” Murphy said. “That was my great contribution to life.”

Boesky basically did everything else. She started the company, runs its five-person staff and coordinated all of the outsourcing.

“There was a definite need in the marketplace for someone who wanted to come in as a third party and basically make this their core business,” Boesky told Pollstar. “The promoter doesn’t want to get into the business of creating travel packages, but they want to be able to offer that as a service because they know, number one, it enhances the value of their product and, number two, it enhances the revenue per ticket. They’re obviously able to charge a premium when they do that.”

My Concert Concierge is in various revenue share deals with the promoters, Boesky said.

“We are true partners on these things – not on the risk factor but on the upside.”

There are talks with at least two new festivals.

The company operates in the background, providing a sister site to the festival. For instance, Coachella.com links to Coachellaconcierge.com, which matches the format of the home site.

“My Concert Concierge should be thought of as an engine and a marketing platform,” Boesky said. “The whole essence is to meld in seamlessly to a company’s own branding.”

The service isn’t as valuable for record company bigwigs as it is for fans because the business types don’t need the extra expense of tickets. But that doesn’t mean the service has been ignored by the concert industry, either.

“The week before Coachella, we were barraged with people in the industry looking for rooms because the Coachella Valley had been sold out,” Boesky said. “We became the resource for the industry for hotel rooms, which is not a place I’d like to be but at least we were able to help.”

– Joe Reinartz