For some, concerts are an escape from reality. They give people a chance to relax, and forget about the troubles in the outside world. At a concert, you are surrounded by like minded people who all have one goal in mind: who can yell the lyrics the loudest. But with tickets soaring and a cost of living crisis looming, are concerts becoming a luxury that the average person cannot afford?
Words by Lucy Dover
I’ve been lucky enough to go to my fair share of concerts and have always relished in the atmosphere, so when I found out that my favourite artist was going to be playing Wembley Stadium, I was ecstatic. I knew Harry Styles tickets would be competitive so I didn’t have any high expectations of getting them, especially when I saw that I was 40,000 in the queue. But still I waited over an hour, holding on to a slither of hope. When I saw that loading button; appear on the screen, I froze. Was I actually going to get tickets? Were there still tickets left? The price page flashed up and my heart sank.
£368 for one pit ticket.
I couldn’t afford that. Most people can’t afford that. I thought that there had been an error. My friend had managed to get the same pit tickets for £155. I went to the source of very reliable news: Twitter.
It wasn’t an error, and I wasn’t the only person left horrified by extortionate prices caused by Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing”. One user angrily wrote: “Come on Harry. Didn’t think you were THAT guy… There’s a cost of living crisis going on in the real non- popstar world. You are literally allowing your fans to be scalped at the source by @TicketmasterUK’s dynamic pricing. Absolutely OUTRAGEOUS way to treat your loyal fans.”
I couldn’t help but feel frustrated and disappointed. Just weeks before, the Financial Times had forecast that bills would rise to over £5000 in 2023 and Boris Johnson was advising people to buy new kettles just to save £10 of electricity. A multi millionaire charging over £350 for a concert ticket seemed so out of touch.
But Harry Styles is not the only musician whose ticket prices have been raising eyebrows. Ticketmaster has been charging £419 to see Coldplay, despite some fans managing to secure the exact same ticket for a quarter of the price. With prices like this, concerts are becoming exclusive places for the wealthy rather than actual fans.
The sad truth is that Ticketmaster and musicians are exploiting young and impressionable fans, who they know will purchase these tickets, no matter how expensive they become. “Money is fake. Harry Styles is forever” is a popular saying amongst Harry Styles fans, but in a cost of living crisis, is it right that musicians continue to raise their prices? Niamh, aged 25, is one fan who fell victim to this outrageous “dynamic pricing” for the sake of seeing her favourite artist. She told Birmingham Live that she accidentally splashed out nearly £700 for two tickets to see Harry Styles and will now struggle to cover “basic things like grocery shopping and covering my rent.”
It is clear that artists need to ensure that prices remain affordable, for their fans’ sake. In a cost of living crisis, even small comforts like a cheap concert can be a lifeline for people struggling. Whilst “Harry Styles is forever”, debt can be as well.