Are Music Festival VIP Passes Worth the Extra Money?


We live in a time where there’s a music festival for every type of music fan and almost any budget. The hardcore Festival Traveler molds summer plans around hitting up as many festivals that can be squeezed into weekends and hard-earned vacation days during peak festival season, while others may stay loyal to a single renowned music fest they check out every year. The diversity in ticket buyers has carved out a place for ticket tiers—general admission, VIP, and ultra VIP. Deciding whether to upgrade will depend on what is included in each package and the type of experience you crave.

The No Bells and Whistles Purist

The sub-type of people who attend festivals can be broken down into similar niches linked to the broad and loosely defined pastime of camping—a trip to the wilderness often reflects different tastes and travel styles.

General admission is the perfect pairing to the festival goer who is either on a budget or simply has no desire take advantage of extras. A lot of people consider waking up early to get a prime spot in front of the stage and lining up for vendor food and basic restroom facilities to be what the true festival experience is all about.

If camping without access to Wi-Fi, let alone showers, doesn’t scare you, general admission will suit you just fine. You’ll get access to the grounds and be empowered to rely on your gumption and ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of being at an outdoor concert.

The Swank Enthusiast

Having VIP passes at a festival is somewhat like a weekend in the mountains with a fancy RV—a few comforts can go a very long way.

Every music festival will have its own definition of VIP, but it’s common for this pass to include special entry into the festival to help cut down on wait times, air conditioned private restrooms with flushing toilets, and reserved viewing areas at various music stages. Some VIP suites will even provide phone-charging stations with refreshments and a game room.

If you prefer a more polished experience, then paying more than double for VIP will be a no-brainer for some peace of mind. Also, concerts that offer camping and shuttle services will often include this in the upgrade so it can also be cost effective if you’re planning to take advantage of these amenities anyway.

Some festivals will take it a step further and offer ultra VIP tickets, which can include elite access to a personal festival concierge who is there to assist with whatever you and your crew may need, catered lounges, spa treatments, and even exclusive access to pre and post festival parties. The price to be treated like royalty is not realistic for everyone, but it’s not uncommon to consider a weekend festival as a mini holiday or a pre-wedding celebration. If this is your situation, the cost may be modest compared to a three-night jaunt to Vegas.

Make sure to always know exactly what you’re paying for and read the fine print. Sometimes a pricey ticket upgrade is not much more than a flashy wristband, a promise of a mysterious swag bag and a festival poster—not exactly worth a mortgage payment.