Music

Why festival ticket prices don’t have to go up every year

2023 is set to be the most expensive year ever for festival ticket prices. There is another way

Sea Change 2022. Photo: courtesy of Sea Change Weekender

Amid double-digit inflation and a cost-of-living crisis, 2023 is set to be the most expensive year ever for festival tickets. Glastonbury ticket prices were up almost 20 per cent from £280 to £335, and they’re far from the only ones to hike costs. But there is another way, insists Sea Change founder Rupert Morrison. The Totnes-based festival has cut ticket prices by a third. Here’s how. 

As we spend our day job being a record shop [Morrison runs the local Drift Records], we’d seen how the financial climate was changing as far back as April 2022. Broadly, people were struggling.  

We felt strongly that if we were going to run Sea Change in 2023, we had to ensure that our audience would be able to join us. We simply wouldn’t return if this was going to become one of the summer’s first divisive events, a weekender for the haves and a melancholic peep show on social media for the have-nots.  

So, we embarked on an exercise – that actually became quite good fun – of questioning every single outgoing. The mantra was that for every pound less we spent, it was another pound that our audience could save to be with us. We ultimately went on sale in late January with weekend festival ticket prices reduced from May 2022’s £89.99 per person, to a streamlined £59.99 in May 2023, a 33 per cent reduction. We sold out entirely at the start of April, our fastest ever, and anecdotally we know that what we did made a huge difference to people. 

We’re phenomenally proud that we were able to action a change in our own way and we’d hope that we can inspire other people to really analyse their respective production costs and see how that, in turn, impacts an audience hungry to support. 

Sea Change Weekender runs from May 26-28, seachangepresents.co.uk

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