You are getting a lot of heat lately because some spoiled brats think they deserved to get early-bird tickets. No one deserves anything.
Your request of $399.95 plus fees for a general admission ticket, while high, is reasonable. Coachella tickets go for $349.95; Bonnaroo topped out at $269.50; Electric Daisy Carnival asked for $290. But to be fair, Ultra's more "intimate" venue, Bayfront Park, holds a lot less people.
Market dictates the prices, and it seems many people are willing to pay that price to see an endless parade of world-class DJs and acts perform on stages with some of the best production in the world.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You can charge whatever you want for your tickets.
But -- and yes, there is a but -- you could make it easier for people to get tickets.
If you are going to command $399.95 for a general admission ticket, you should think about doing ticket layaway. Coachella has been doing this successfully for several years, forgoing teasing people with "early bird" prices and just asking for the full amount from the get-go.
Here's how it works: Coachella gives festival-goers can either pay in full or opt into a deferred payment program. The purchaser pays 20 percent of the full ticket price and then has six monthly installments that will be automatically debited from a valid credit card. If the purchaser defaults on a scheduled payment, he or she may end up losing the ticket and deposit in full.
The layaway plan has made going to Coachella a lot more affordable for music fans. Sure, the festival doesn't have to do it, but this levels the playing field somewhat, making a music fest experience possible for many who don't have $349.95 ready to spend.
Yes, Ultra you should think about doing this for 2015, especially if you are going to ask for an astronomically high $399.95 ticket price. Plus, implementing a layaway program means you could probably kill the whole "early bird" tease -- which, let's face it, only seems to piss people off who weren't able to get in on it.
And sending out press releases boasting that early bird tickets sold out in 4 minutes is only going to infuriate your fanbase.
Also, while you limit one transaction per credit card (and a ticket limit of 4), we don't think this discourages scalping -- which, if you stand around Biscayne Boulevard during Ultra, you know is a big problem. Coachella solved that issue by limiting two tickets per billing address.
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Again, makes it easier on the fans to get tickets, Ultra, and you'll probably see a lot less complaints.