What happened to the days when we used to actually commit to music events?
Remember when people used to buy a festival ticket and then – gasp – actually attend the festival?
Header image: Sets On The Beach last weekend.
The last couple of weekends have been strange ones in festival land over in WA, and served to highlight a somewhat disturbing trend: our increasing lack of commitment when it comes to music festivals, and to a lesser extent events in general.
Our growing apathy towards music events is creating this “wait and see” culture where we semi-commit to going to an event, get that early ticket, then just get rid of it closer to the event ‘cause we can’t be bothered, wanna make a cheap buck, or the conditions aren’t exactly to our personal specifications. BECAUSE ME.
Lets look at Stereosonic Perth, and the whole debacle surrounding the set-time of one of 2015’s hottest artists – JAUZ. Originally scheduled to start in Perth at 1.55pm, some “disgruntled punters” decided to start a petition to have the organisers change the start time. That petition received all of 420 (lol) signatures, but amazingly Steresonic did decide to change it in a decision that would spectacularly backfire. The stage reached capacity quite early in the afternoon, thus meaning a fair chunk of people missed out on seeing JAUZ. I’m pretty sure that’s called irony?
Now Stereosonic giving in to a few hundred whinging punters was obviously a really poor decision, but in some ways I can’t blame them. We’ve become so demanding as punters thanks to the megaphone for high-and-mighty-whingers that is social media, and we take this SERVE ME AND ONLY ME RIGHT NOW attitude, that it’s hard not to try and please everyone for fear of retribution.
So what that JAUZ was put on early? Get down there at 2pm and see the guy early?! It’s honestly that simple. The point of putting on larger acts early is to get you down there earlier and to experience more of the day/get you to start buying drinks earlier. And complain all you want about festival drink prices, you’re bringing most of what you’re consuming during the day in with you anyway, and you could just…I dunno, pace yourself? Just because you don’t wanna get to the festival early doesn’t mean they should have to bow to your every single demand. Unfortunately they did, and a lot of people missed out accordingly.
The weekend that just went by featured two beach-themed festivals in Sets On The Beach and Castaway, on a weekend that 9 years out of 10 would be sunny and hot. Unfortunately this particular weekend was a bit rainy and cold. And the threat of bad weather saw Facebook event walls popping off with people trying to sell their tickets. Because of a spot of bad weather. Something organisers haven’t yet figured out how to control.
Just because the weather is a bit off doesn’t mean the artists you supposedly originally paid money to go and see won’t be playing anymore. Don’t you still want to go and support them? Or because conditions aren’t exactly to your liking you’re bailing? So you jump on social media, sell your tickets, event be damned. It’s really fucking sad.
For the record it rained once at Castaway, and the main stage at Sets On The Beach was shut down for 30 whole minutes while a bit of weather blew over, and the vibe of the punters at both festivals was fantastic. I suspect it’s because the people who don’t actually give a fuck about artists or events had all bailed, leaving only the people who actually care about such frivolous things as who they’re seeing at an event.
By offloading your tickets day of the event, a lot of people no longer need to buy tickets from the festival itself, and that’s direct earnings they’re losing out on.
It’s funny, Perth events always used to have a real issue selling tickets ahead of time. I’ve met many promoters sweating buckets in the weeks leading up to their festival, living in fear that they’re not going to sell enough tickets to be able to go ahead with the event. And then at the 11th hour there’d be a surge in ticket sales to get it over the line, our population notoriously lazy with getting their shit together and buying tickets in advance.
Now it’s the other way around. Now we buy tickets at the start (usually at a discounted rate), and wait and see how we feel closer to the event if we wanna go or not. And if you decide to bail at the last minute, you can scalp that ticket at a higher price. So the event loses one punter to another, loses an extra ticket sale on top of that, and loses another person at the event who’ll be buying drinks/eating food.
The onus is obviously still on events to provide for you the best possible time they can, but how about we start being more accountable, and actually start committing to shit we say we’re going to? Support the people who wanna throw parties for you, and support the artists who wanna provide the entertainment for you. “Australia loses another festival” is a pretty common phrase thrown around in 2015, and while that’s in part to poor event planning/management, it’s also in part to poor punter commitment.
Maybe we're spoilt for choice these days, but I reckon 10 years ago if you bought a festival ticket and that festival looked like it was gonna see a spot of rain, you sucked it up, bought a fucking $3 poncho, and got on with it.
And really, we get it pretty bloody good over here compared to some places...