Your favourite band has just announced that they are heading to Australia – and the vibe is building to what will definitely be the hottest gig of the year. The gig is a sell out in record time and there is an excitement that you have a ticket. That said, how much damage is that doing to your wallet? Over the years, the cost of concert tickets has obviously increased, but how far is too far? How much would you pay to be a part of a band’s only Australian show or tour for a couple of years, such as the Rolling Stones’ upcoming fiftieth anniversary at $250-$300 a ticket.
Kicking off on the 13th of August, Bob Dylan (as you will all be aware) is touring Australia and is playing multiple shows in each city due to popular demand. Selling out in record time, these shows are definitely going to be a magical experience and well worth seeing. Some people disagree, though, and think that he is past the prime years of Highway 61 Revisited or Blood on the Tracks, although his most recent release and 35th overall, Tempest, scored favourable reviews with press worldwide and was voted as Rolling Stone’s 4th greatest album for 2012.
Recent setlists of consecutive nights at the one venue give an idea of the ultimate opportunity to see Bob Dylan. Throughout the hour-and-a-half to two-hours he is on stage, Dylan covers many classics from his extensive back catalogue. Does it sound as good as his prime years and previous tours though? At $100 a ticket, to just get to the back of the upstairs of the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, is it truly worth the hard-earned coin to have bragging rights about seeing the living legend? For the die-hard fans it goes without saying that in fact yes, no matter where you are sitting, it is worth it.
If the argument is about value for money, Bruce Springsteen’s run of concerts in Australia earlier in the year needs to be taken into consideration. For around the same amount of money, Springsteen played nearly double the concert length of Dylan, showing that age is no barrier to putting on a show.
The names of the moment, however, such as Lorde and Ben Howard, are in a matter of speaking playing a shortened set for the same amount of money. It is a little bit disappointing that we wait months to see our favourite pop stars and they are only on stage for just over an hour.
Big Day Out has folded for the meantime and aims to be back in 2016; however, there are still many festivals to choose from. There is a new festival at Phillip Island over the New Year’s period in place of Pyramid Rock, and Falls and Meredith both sell out each year without fail. Which leads to the question of which one do you choose? Each boasting large headline acts, they have over the years built a unique experience to the festival punter. Yet, if an act pulls out of a headline spot like London Grammar or Two Door Cinema Club from Splendour in the Grass 2014, how does that affect the experience? Although there is a minority of people that go to festivals to see one or two bands, should the ticket prices (if still available) be lowered in price due to the late cancellation from such acts?
If festivals are all about the experience to the music goer, then surely a free festival is able to offer an equal if not better experience than the high-paying tickets. One such example to great free music festivals is the Echuca Moama Winter Blues Festival. Over the course of three days, 50 acts take to the riverside town and play throughout venues in Echuca. All of the music is free and offers the best in Australian blues music. There is plenty of local awesome music out there that costs a considerable amount less than the big concert arenas.
With big name acts such as Paul Simon and Sting coming to Geelong in the next few months, are big international stars really worth seeing? Is it better to support the Australian artists at local gigs such as Chet Faker and Dan Sultan, which were both sell outs over the past few months? The main question is where will your entertainment dollar go?
Written by Tex Miller