Travel To Go | Getting a Piece of the Music Festival Pie

Getting a Piece of the Music Festival Pie

By: Mindy Poder

These days, preparing for a weekend music festival can feel like planning for an extended vacation abroad. Necessary drags include spending more than $300 on tickets before the a musician line-up is announced, booking accommodations months (or even a year) in advance, figuring out how to get into VIP parties, considering transportation to-and-from the festival grounds and more.

This year, the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco sold out faster than ever before. // (c) 2014 Josh Withers

This is certainly the case for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This year, Coachella sold out in less than three hours — for both of its identical weekends. As competition increases, so do prices. Out of the approximately 180,000 people who attended Coachella this year, some were certainly doing so lavishly.

This year, most coverage of the event required scrolling through paragraphs of celebrity name dropping: Aaron Paul, Diane Kruger, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez — you get the idea.

And it’s not just Coachella. It seems that as the number of music festivals increases, the interest in attending these festivals increases as well — so much so that you could even describe the process as competitive.

For the right travel agent — one who has developed connections in the music industry as well as in hotels, transportation and more — music festivals can be a lucrative niche. 

My personal favorite festival of the last few years has been Outside Lands festival in San Francisco, Calif. Located in the brisk and beautiful Golden Gate Park, the event does a great job moonlighting as a general best of San Francisco celebration of food and wine, with local eats, vineyards and breweries representing in full force.

Another aspect of Outside Lands that I have loved is that it never took a lot of time to plan — I could even decide to purchase a ticket at the last minute. But, not so this year — for the first time ever, the festival, which will take place from Aug. 8-10, sold out its general admission three-day passes in three days.

It’s not too late to target luxury clients, though: what’s left are three-day VIP passes ($595) and single day VIP passes ($249.50).    

Agents can offer packages with tickets, or focus on the details for ticket-holders who find the process of arranging transportation and securing accommodations overwhelming. It’s not outrageous to imagine that a person spending nearly $600 on a ticket will appreciate a well-planned, value-added trip.

Though Outside Lands has not publicized which hotel properties are offering discounts for festival goers, there are several area hotels targeting VIPs with savings, confirming that there is a sizeable contingent of festival goers spending real money (not to mention that the Huffington Post reported that back in 2011, during the earlier days of the Outside Lands festival, it generated $60 million in revenue for local businesses and $6.6 million into the wider Bay Area economy).

Following are San Francisco hotels offering discounts for Outside Lands:

For clients who will be in the city before the festival, Kimpton properties are offering savings that are good for bookings from July 6 through Aug. 6. These include Hotel Palomar at $319, the recently renovated Hotel Monaco at $309, Hotel Prescott at $289 and Hotel Triton at $299. To book these properties, contact Chad Schyvincht at

Joie De Vivre properties will be offering savings of 15 percent during the actual dates of Outside Lands. These include the Galleria Park Hotel, Hotel Carlton, Hotel Kabuki, Hotel Rex, Hotel Tomo and Phoenix Hotel. To secure these rates, contact the hotel directly, ask for the Outside Lands rate (official rate code is LAND). The online booking code is also LAND. To negotiate a special group room rate for Outside Lands groups, email Armel Reyes, director of Global Sales for Commune Hotels + Resorts, at

Hotel Zetta is also offering a 15 percent discount with the promo code OL14. Contact Greg Bell at to secure the rate.

Another property offering a 15 percent discount is Hotel Abri. Contact Adam Holcomb to secure the rate.

Music festivals are here to stay. As they become more popular, they will generate more money for the greater tourism industry — but be more difficult for consumers to book. It’s high time for travel agents to show off their value to this niche market.

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