Byron Bay Bluesfest has been criticised for a new initiative which allows festival-goers to pay $300 per day (on top of their original ticket price) for ‘front row seats’ at the festival’s two main stages.
Announced earlier this month ahead of Bluesfest’s 2018 event over the Easter weekend, the new ‘Front Row Seats’ program will supposedly give those willing to pay the chance to enjoy “unimpeded views” in an “intimate viewing area of only a few rows”.
Bluesfest has sold reserved side-stage seating at previous festivals, but this is the first time in the event’s 29-year history that it has sold reserved space in front of its main stages, and some ticket-holders aren’t fans of the idea.
Many who bought tickets to the festival before the ‘Front Row Seats’ initiative was announced have taken to social media to share their concerns:
In a statement to Music Feeds, a Bluesfest spokesperson says they expect the ‘Front Row Seats’ to sell out.
“VIP viewing areas are popular at festivals all over the world, and this is not the first time Bluesfest has provided super fans the opportunity to enjoy special reserved viewing areas at our main stages,” they say.
“The initiative sold out last time and is on track to do the same in 2018.
“The additional income they generate allows festivals such as Bluesfest to reinvest in recurrent infrastructure and overlay costs, compete for top level artists, as well as to provide a wonderful experience for everyone who attends the event.”
Bluesfest has also tried to reassure festival-goers who don’t end up buying ‘Front Row Seats’ that their experience won’t be negatively impacted.
“The Front Row Seats are available on two of our five stages and are only two rows of 24 seats per row to make sure the experience is as enjoyable as possible for patrons who have upgraded to Front Row Seats, and those who haven’t,” the spokesperson says.
“As the seats are sold on a per stage, per day basis it was essential for our consumers to know what stage and what day artists were playing.”
Unfortunately for ticket-holders, Bluesfest’s ticketing terms and conditions say festival organisers “reserve the right to add, withdraw, reschedule or substitute artists and/or vary advertised programs, prices, venues, seating arrangements and audience capacity”.
However, Fair Trading NSW has advised customers who believe they’ve been unfairly treated to contact Bluesfest directly before making any official complaints.
The festival will return to Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm between Thursday, 29th March and Monday, 2nd April. For details of all the best Bluesfest 2018 sideshows, head here.