Article | Onlythebeat

Ultra Music Festival's Payment Plan: Will it Encourage More to Attend Despite Price Increase?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Katherine O'Harra

Ultra Music Festival released a payment plan option for the purchase of GA tickets on August 6th. The plan allows attendees to pay an initial fee of $98.95 before October 15, and four succeeding monthly payments. This is the first time that the Miami festival has given the option of a payment plan. Perhaps the motivation for this announcement came from the angry response of fans, including myself, for the dramatic increase in price for the three-day festival.

Early-Bird Gets The...

The new payment plan option forced me to relive my disappointment at the increase in price, and my struggle to obtain early-bird tickets. Set to release at 1:00pm on May 21st I eagerly waited in front UMF's ticket page displayed on my computer, tablet, and cell phone for the "Buy Tickets" button to appear on-screen. After it appeared, I made several attempts on each device to purchase and made it to the final purchasing page several times only to be booted off. After a half hour of failed attempts, I made it to the final page, but the price had increased from $149.95 (the "early-bird" price) to $274.95 (the "Advanced" price). The advanced tickets sold out just as quickly as the early-bird. The ticket price is now set at $399.95, but that does not include the whopping $90.05 service fee that is tacked onto the price. This brings the actual cost of the GA ticket to $490, an approximately 30% increase from UMF prices from spring of 2013. I paid half that price in 2011 just weeks before the festival, and less in 2013 as well.


Boycott Ultra?

The increase in price revealed in May inspired many festival-goers to blog, tweet, and Facebook post their discontent. "Boycott Ultra Music Festival," a group on Facebook was founded the day that tickets were released. The group has nearly 9,000 followers and counting. Its founders discontent is due both to the increase in price and the crashing of the UMF server while attempting to purchase early-bird tickets. What is the cause of the increase in price? Many Ultra Music Festival fans blame the festivals producers' greed for the 30% price escalation. Another possibility is simple economic supply and demand models. With the widespread expansion of interest in the electronic scene, demand has increased. With the increase in demand, came an increase in price. EMD festivals are not cheap to produce. With each festival trying to outdo the others in audio-visual effects, prices increase to cover the cost of these insane structures. Top DJs are demanding increasingly higher payouts as their music heightens in popularity, also leading to an increase in admission prices. But how high is too high of a price for these EDM festivals? Despite the new payment plan, myself and many other avid festival attendees remain financially incapable of forking over the cash needed for UMF 2014. Most of the ravers that attend the festival come from areas outside of Miami. When one includes the cost of travel, accommodation, and food, the price is equal to several months rent. With more festivals arising monthly, less costly options are becoming available to see some of the world's top DJs. Festivals that don't break the bank include Detroit's Movement Electronic Music Festival, which costs just $99 for three days, and Chicago's Spring Awakening Music Festival that is approximately $250 for three days. Even the sister festival of the massive Belgian TomorrowLand, TomorrowWorld, costs less than Ultra (including camping and fees).

There is one Positive...

One positive of the payment plan is that it only costs $4.75 more than purchasing GA tickets in one fell swoop. Perhaps to some fans, the five payments of $98.95 is doable to attend the premiere festival. If the massive crowds, intense pyrotechnics and lighting, and fully loaded lineup appeal to you, then prepare to dig deep into your pockets and hand over the $500.