Fans who can’t pony up the bucks for a colossal music festival touting big acts on multiple stages have an alternative.
Pay in multiple stages.
Layaway plans, recently resurrected by Sears and other retail chains, will be available to consumers who buy tickets to several 2009 festivals, including the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It returns April 17-19 in Indio, Calif.
At the indie-rock fest, fans will have two options besides money upfront when buying a $269 three-day pass: pay half down and the rest April 1, or pay 10 percent followed by equal installments on March 1 and April 1 without interest or additional fees. The plans are sold only online and aren’t available for $99 single-day admission.
Layaway systems already are in place for the Stagecoach Country Music Festival, Country Thunder USA and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which offered an installment service last year.
The struggling economy prompted the expansion, “though we probably should have been doing this all along,” says Paul Tollett, Coachella founder and president of concert promoter Goldenvoice. “It’s great for people who want to go but don’t have all the money at once. When we did it for Stagecoach, 24 percent of people picked layaway, which is eye-opening. So we’re doing it for all our festivals.”
Fans can expect layaway choices at the All Points West Music & Arts Festival in Jersey City, Rothbury Festival in Michigan and the Mile High Music Festival in Commerce City, Colo.
The system, which entails higher processing costs, is best suited for large general-admission festivals, not reserved-seating arena shows with smaller staffs, Tollett says.
Though there is a risk for fans (having their order canceled and losing their deposits if they default on payment), layaway boosts the allure of festivals, says Ray Waddell, “Billboard”‘s touring editor.
“For the big festivals, the cost-per-band is a bargain,” he says. “And the overall experience offers a lot of value. Still, producers would be crazy not to react to what is bound to be a more price-sensitive market this year.”
Spreading a hefty cost over a period of weeks or months naturally appeals to buyers on tight budgets, Waddell says. “Just ask QVC.”