Lolla Absorbs Ticket Fees

Lollapalooza becomes the second major festival this summer to break with concert industry tradition, making its published ticket price the final one by eliminating surcharges and add-ons. When a ticket buyer goes to check out after deciding on a purchase, what they see is what they get.

While Lolla organizer C3 Presents isn’t making the same financial leap of faith that Ozzfest presenters did with this year’s free outing, eliminating ticket surcharges for the August 3-5 festival in Chicago’s Grant Park is an effort to respond to fans who’ve complained vehemently about those annoying add-ons.

"The fans have complained and spoken pretty loudly about how they don’t like the service charges and the add-ons," C3 Presents VP Charlie Walker told Pollstar. "And they’ve spoken fairly loudly through attendance about super-high prices for certain shows. While they may be willing to pay extreme ticket prices for certain headliners, they’re not willing to pay that across the board."

Noting that the $165 presale for the three-day Lollapalooza pass breaks down to $55 per day, Walker said the price is right and the added bonus of no surprises at checkout is something fans will appreciate.

"For $55 a day, 130-plus bands including Pearl Jam’s only North American appearance all year, along with everything Chicago has to offer and a great site at Grant Park, is tough to beat. It’s a great value," Walker said.

"I think we’re all trying to wrestle with listening to our fans and trying to deliver. I think that’s what you’re seeing with Ozzfest and what you’re seeing with service charges," Walker said. "I think you’ll continue to see that as people try to adapt, become more fan-friendly and figure how to really embrace the customer.

"It’s going to be hard to stay in business with no customers if we’re going to keep treating them like we don’t listen to what their concerns are."

Walker acknowledged that C3 didn’t simply make the expense disappear – Front Gate Tickets, Lolla’s vendor, is being paid out of the ticket price. The same goes for other expenses generally paid by the promoter.

"All we really did here was figure out what everything cost, what the ticketing service price would be that we pay our vendor, and we just included it all in the ticket price," Walker said. "You don’t pay a staging price, and that’s an expense the promoter pays. So why would you pay an extra ticketing expense on top of the ticket price? That’s just kind of the mentality we’ve had."

The difference is in communication, Walker said, and telling the customer the true ticket price instead of surprising them.

There will be an additional fee if a ticketbuyer wants a premium delivery service such as overnight UPS, for instance, but for normal delivery or home printed tickets there will be no additional cost. As part of the "greening" of Lollapalooza, it’s requested that fans using the PrintPass option to print their own tickets do so on recycled paper.

In addition to the green program, Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell is once again on board to push the festival into new technological territory with an interactive gaming area and other innovative attractions.