Sadly, this post has nothing to do with politics, a great love of mine, but rather the costs associated with live entertainment.
This year, I've attended 16 shows, which is 14 more than I went to last year and there are still two months, three Slackers shows and a Damned show to go. Now, generally, I purchase tickets in advance. The reason being, it serves to encourage me to go to events and on occasion, such as the Slackers boat show or Slackers secret show, gives me access to sold out events.
When I went to purchase tickets to the Damned from Ticketmaster, it was going to cost just north of $100 to purchase two tickets from them for the Stone Pony. Having business in Asbury Park a month ago, I purchased them directly from the Stone Pony, total cost, $55 for two tickets. It was like getting a ticket for free by going to the box office. Since it was Ticketmaster, I assumed it was an isolated event, since we are all used to overpaying on Ticketmaster fees.
However, today, I purchased a ticket to Skanksgiving at the Starland Ballroom. I'm quite excited to see the Slackers for the 20th time, Westbound Train for the first time and the Pietasters for the sixth time. Even though I live close to Sayreville, I've never been to the Starland Ballroom and sadly, just haven't found the time and motivation to drive to Sayreville to get a ticket ahead of time, since unlike Asbury Park, there is no reason anyone would want to go Sayreville for the day.
So, I broke down and bought a ticket today.
The ticket itself was $15.95, which represents less than half the associated costs with going to the event. On the other side, there is $1.05 for tax, an unavoidable reality. A $7.50 charge to use AXS.com, which feels more expensive than Ticketmaster, probably because it is just under 50% of the total ticket price. But since I wanted a ticket, I needed to pay an additional $5.00 for a ticket to be mailed to me, which was actually cheaper than Will Call, which was $6.00. Six dollars to write a name on a piece of paper. That's law firm or consulting pricing, not real world pricing. (Admittedly, in consulting pricing that would be a good deal.) So, we are at $13.55 in fees on the ticket. Which if there was reliable public transportation to the area (there isn't, since my train station is closest to the event, which they recommend a cab from), would be the end of it.
Instead, there is now parking, which is either $7.00 to use their lot or if I was mentally challenged, $18.69 for Star Parking, which gives me a slightly closer parking spot and the ability to be first in line. It's a six band ska show. I have night terrors about sitting through six bands at my age. Four, with Mephiskapheles, might be a bridge too far in terms of time. But I don't need to be first for that.
So, adding in parking, we are up to $20.55 in fees versus $15.95 in actual ticket price, which seems sadly absurd and likely has a strong, long term impact on live events, when more of the consumer's money goes to other fees, rather than artists. Someday, when I'm very old, instead of regular old, I will complain more about how economy shifts money around to at best, create jobs, but more likely, unjustly enriches people who provide no value, aside from taking advantage of their monopolistic position, but in the interim, I'll go to the show and realize I paid $36.00 for a $15.95 ticket.