Summer music festival ticket sales create student buzz
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 21:02
When Firefly Music Festival’s lineup was announced last Tuesday, murmurs of “Are you going?” could be heard across campus.
This year, Firefly and other music festivals, such as the Governor’s Ball and Bonnaroo, have been gaining large amounts of attention as their popularity increases and their lineups exceed the years before says sophomore Ryan Quirk.
“The first year of Firefly, bands were hesitant about playing because it was in Delaware,” Quirk says. “Now all of the bands were lining up to play because of the big success from the first year.”
Junior Nicole Ballance and senior Rachael Studzinski attended Firefly in Dover last summer and say they are eager to attend again this year. The day after the festival ended both purchased pre-sale tickets without knowing the 2013 lineup, Ballance says, and according to Studzinski, they have been counting down the days until this year’s Firefly ever since.
“I’ve always wanted to go to a festival like this, but it has always been too far away or too expensive,” Ballance says. “Firefly wasn’t too badly priced and is only around 45 minutes from where I live.”
Last year, over 30,000 people attended the first Firefly and the second festival will take place June 21 through the 23 with a lineup that includes The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foster the People and the Lumineers, according to the website. The lineup includes 65 other bands.
By Thursday evening a post on Firefly’s Facebook page read, “Within seconds our early bird pricing sold out. Within an hour we surpassed the total 2012 ticket sales, and we anticipate selling out of our regular priced tickets shortly.”
But Firefly is not the only festival growing in popularity. Jordan Wolowitz, 29, partner of Founders Entertainment, says the talent for the Governor’s Ball will be much bigger than the first two years, which has stirred a large response from their announcement three weeks ago and are on pace to sell out in advance.
The Governor’s Ball, which will take place June 7 to 9 at Randall’s Island in New York City features Kanye West, Kings of Leon and Young the Giant in the lineup, along with over 60 other bands. The advanced, early-bird and holiday pre-sales are all sold out, but the regular three-day general admission tickets are still available for $220, according to the website.
Wolowitz says he attributes Founders Entertainment success with the Governor’s Ball to two reasons—the first being the fact that he and his partners, Tom Russell and Yoni Reisman, also 29, are fans of the bands they book, and the second being the influence of social media.
“Our fan base is growing, especially with the level of the lineup this year,” he says. “However, the vast majority of our audience and fan base is between 18 and 30. They all live online and are totally engaged in social media.”
Though many of the summer music festivals have similar lineups, festival goers say they differentiate themselves from one another by their ambiance and what they have to offer the audience.
Firefly has a very mellow, friendly atmosphere where everyone says hello and where hammocks are set up in the woods for the audiences’ leisure, Quirk says. Wine tastings and old video games such as Mario and Pac-Man were provided, as well as the opportunity to have an individualized painting created on the spot with the proceeds going to charity, Quirk says.
And those who have worrisome parents or fear that their belongings are going to be taken, that is not the case, Ballance says. Ballance says she was surprised by the friendly atmosphere of the Firefly festival, and she even left her windows open without having any of her belongings stolen.
By contrast, the Governor’s Ball offers a different atmosphere than that of Firefly and Bonaroo’s relaxed, rural ambiances, as it is in the heart of New York City, Wolowitz says.
“New Yorkers have a lot of options for entertainment and they are picky people, so we wanted to start off with the best lineup that’s ever been put out there, and ever since 2011 we have achieved that,” Wolowitz says. “There are different things we offer, like New York City food trucks, discos and unique artist coalitions—things of that nature to make it very New York centric, but also make it unique.”
And unlike the Firefly and Bonaroo destination festivals, camping or other housing accommodations are not of major concern when purchasing Governor’s Ball tickets.
Various camping packages for Firefly are still available, ranging from $148 for general camping to $1498 for a “Glamping Package.” But food and showers are another expense, as it costs $5 to take a shower, Studzinski says.
“You knew it was going to be expensive, but you’re prepared for it,” Ballance says.
Aside from the cost, music festivals are a time for complete strangers to bond over similar tastes in music through dancing, singing and socializing at the campsite—“it’s completely lawless,” Quirk says.
Studzinski says her time at Firefly was worth the money she spent.
“It reminded me of what Woodstock would have looked like,” Studzinski says.