Irish festival fans stung by the great rock ‘n’ roll rip-off

IT’S the great rock and roll swindle.

Once again Irish music fans are being forced to dig deeper than most to see their favourite acts.

Every summer, as festival season kicks off, Irish people complain about the astronomical price of tickets here.

The blame for such high prices is often laid at the door of greedy promoters and the much criticised Ticketmaster booking fees.

However, judging by the crowds that flock to see big name acts here every year, it seems the main reason prices are high is because we are willing to pay them.

The most talked about concert of last year was Tom Waits and judging by the price tag of €116, Irish fans were more than willing than any other nationality to fork out to see their hero.

However, if you were willing to go to Prague, you could see the man in action for about €40.

Similarly, it was cheaper to fly to London to see hip-hop star M.I.A last year than to go to her Dublin concert.

Despite the recession, the expected drop in prices hasn’t materialised. Two of the biggest festivals in Europe, Glastonbury and Roskilde, are once again better value than smaller events staged here.

Glastonbury tickets were just £175 (€204) for four days while Roskilde in Denmark comes in at €240 for four days.

Oxegen, which runs for three days and with a significantly smaller line-up comes in at €224.50 with Electric Picnic costing €240.

European festival tickets also often come with tents and bus and rail connections. Try getting anything like that in Punchestown or Stradbally this year.

A ticket to see Canadian rock legend Neil Young play the O2 this Sunday will cost €68 plus the €6.35 booking fee. However, a ticket for his London and Nottingham shows the following week costs just £45 (€52).

If you managed to book a cheap flight and arranged to sleep on an obscure relative’s floor, the chances are a trip to Britain could be the more financially sound option.

James Taylor is another man who is cheaper to see outside of these borders.

A ticket for his concert at the Marquee in Cork is €65.70. However, in the sunnier climes of Valencia in Spain, a ticket to see Mr Taylor is substantially cheaper, costing just €40.

A ticket for hip-hop star Kanye West in the Marquee in Cork costs about €70 but to see him in action in Hyde Park in London costs £45 (€52).

Pop acts are also more expensive to see performing here. Tickets to see Beyonce in the O2 in Dublin at the end of May ranged from €67.50 to €83.

However, once again, British audiences fared better getting to see the star at the cheapest rate of £49.50 (€57).

However, perhaps there are signs Irish audiences have had enough.

Offering reasonable value for money Glastonbury sold out relatively quickly this year. However, both Electric Picnic and Oxegen have, so far, failed to sell out despite high profile line-ups.

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