Concert ticket prices go through the roof

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Date: Apr 14, 2001
Source: Toronto Star
Submitted By: michelle

Betsy Powell

Entertainment Reporter

As the summer concert season starts to take shape, one thing's clear: The price of a concert ticket has never been higher.

Blame the sagging Canadian dollar, soaring production costs and high taxes, say promoters, for soaring prices, such as the $99 and $79 — plus service charges — that it costs to buy tickets for yet two more appearances by the Backstreet Boys. The boy band performs in July at the Air Canada Centre. Both shows are soldout.

Still digging '80s holdovers Bon Jovi? Pony up $79.50, $59.50 for a seat, $32.50 for squatting rights on the lawn at the Molson Amphitheatre (July 17); while the Black Sabbath-headlined Ozzfest at Live at the Lake (July 24) will set you back $79.

"Twenty bands. I think it's an amazing deal, really good entertainment value," said promoter Steve Herman of SFX/Core. "The reality is if you charge too much, people don't come. We're competing for dollars against everything else.''

Herman argues the quality of the shows have increased and so has the cost of touring.

"The expectation of the public has increased too, so the average `A' level shows are now 12 to 14 (equipment) trucks.''

Canadian promoters are also on the hook to pay U.S. acts with American dollars.

Last summer, House of Blues Concerts president Don Simpson was paying about $1.40 or $1.41 Canadian to buy one U.S. dollar. "This year we've hit $1.58, .59. $1.60. That's a big swing in a 12-month period.''

He's troubled by the trend of rising ticket prices, and worries live rock 'n' roll is in danger of becoming something only the rich can afford.

"We're trying to balance it so that the artist still comes to Canada and the price of the tickets is somewhat affordable so you don't have to be living in Rosedale to be able to go and see a concert."

The Oasis/Black Crowes (May 25) double bill at the Amphitheatre, for instance, is a relative bargain at $42.50.

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