As Costs Of Making A Music Festival Go Up, Boise's Treefort Raises Ticket Prices

Aug 28, 2018

After several years of holding steady at $50, the price of Treefort Music Fest ‘early bird’ tickets has increased to $75.

The limited release and sought-after five-day tickets typically sell out in less than five minutes. This year’s batch of 200 will go on sale Friday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m., and can only be purchased online.

Music festival director Eric Gilbert says the price increase comes as the cost of doing business has gone up in recent years. He says as the economy has gotten stronger vendors have raised their prices. And as the festival has grown, their staff has grown too. (Even year-round staff members all hold second or third jobs still.) But he says there’s another factor at play that’s specific to music festivals:

“Artist fees have gone up a lot since we started the festival. Because we’re not as headliner focused, it doesn’t hit us quite as hard [as other festivals], but that’s definitely a common thing around the music industry. And I would say rightfully so – artists need to get paid and [live performance is] one of their main sources of income.”

Last year, Treefort lost money – even as attendance went up by 33 percent. (Click here for a full breakdown of ticket prices.) Gilbert says the increase in ticket prices across the board puts the festival in a spot where they can make money in 2019.

“Boise is a price-sensitive town," he says. "But I would hope that over the years people would see the value in [the festival] and that for us to survive, we’re going to have to make sure we’re not losing money every year.”

Gilbert says the first artist announcement might be coming as soon as November.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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