Download 2017: The Experience Is Worth The Price

Tickets have been released for Download festival, much to the excitement of many fans. They are priced at £205 for 3 nights camping, but is it worth it? Mike Hosker, a lecturer at BIMM Manchester university (British & Irish Modern Music Institute) believes the prices can be justified based on the experience offered by the festival.

Download will take place on 9th – 11th June 2017 at Donington Park, Derby. With bands such as System of a Down, Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith headlining, tickets are selling fast. The release of “early bird” tickets allowed people to buy tickets before the general public at a cheaper price, meaning that many have already sold out.

The standard 3 night camping adult ticket is priced at £205, whilst the standard 5 night ticket is £215. With these prices being very similar, the 3 night ticket seems steep, especially when tickets have been sold cheaper beforehand in the “early bird” stage. Not only this, but parking prices are not included with the ticket price.

Keeping this in mind, can Download’s prices be justified?

Image of Download ticket from 2016

Download 2016 ticket (image by Mark Kirby)

“I bought a Glastonbury ticket this year without knowing any of the lineup. It’s about having some escapism”, said music business tutor, Mike Hosker. “If you can offer an experience as a festival promoter, then really you can charge what you like”.

He continued to explain that there are lots of factors to consider in the pricing: “If it rains, that can take a festival from being massively profitable to bankruptcy”.

Download appeals to a wide-ranging audience, catering for many different interests aside from the music, which offers its audience a very unique experience. Whilst the bands that attend are usually of the heavy rock or metal genre, the festival attracts many fans with their unusual events. In past years, this has included wrestling, jousting, silent discos and you can even get married in an inflatable church! All of these things must be taking into consideration when looking at the prices, including wages for the bands and expensive equipment.

To widen their audience even further, they have also incorporated other genres. In 2010 they introduced an acoustic stage and musicians of electronic dance, dubstep and alternative pop genres have performed. Most notably, Twenty One Pilots played in 2014.

People from all over the world attend Download, and many fans take their families with them to enjoy the acts, camping in the quieter ‘RIP’ areas. Despite being known for heavy rock and metal music, the event is family-friendly and has developed a reputation of all-round fun for all. Michelle Broderick, 43, from Derby told us: “I took my son for the first time in 2013, he’s autistic and has ADHD. He loved it. We even got on to the main stage and met Five Finger Death Punch. The crowd is awesome. It’s like going home to an extended family”.

Despite the wide-ranging and loyal audience, some fans have had problems with tickets. Twitter user @CyberGrim expressed concerns when his tickets did not arrive. The issue was resolved, but the best customer service should be expected after spending such a large amount.

Tweet from Twitter user @CyberGrim

Twitter user @CyberGrim contacted Ticketmaster about his missing tickets

However, ticket availability appears to be high as many fans purchase their tickets as late as May. The popularity of the event does not appear to cause fans to miss out.

We spoke to people who have attended Download for many years and people who are new to the community. They all expressed their love for the festival, despite the cost and it’s reputation for bad weather.

Adam Walker, 30, from Norwich is an administrator for a Facebook page dedicated to Download. He explained to us why he enjoys it so much: “Download is one massive family, bands are just a bonus. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or tenth year, you’re never judged and are welcomed with open arms”.

The festival was also described as a family by Gina Hunt, 21, from Devon: “I love the atmosphere, people just seem to get along and bond over the smallest things. There was a guy who stood behind me during Rammstein and protected me from the crowd pushing forward”.

Another loyal Download fan Hayley Chamberlain, 22, from Leicester said: “I’ve been going for five years, everyone is welcome and you can make friends for life in a couple of days”.

Although Download’s prices seem high, it offers a unique experience which is key for the success of the festival and cannot be found elsewhere. As Mike Hosker suggested, if the prices were lower, the experience may not be as enjoyable or attract such a large fanbase. Many fans agree that both the price and the bad weather are justified by the amazing community they have become a part of.

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