Busi­ness of bling taken to new high

‘Her­itage’ acts coin it as rich plump for gig lux­ury

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

If you were one of those in­dig­nant at the no­tion of pay­ing ¤551.75 to see Bar­bra Streisand in con­cert this sum­mer, look away now. The So­cial is a five-con­cert se­ries which will take place in New York’s East Hamp­tons this sum­mer fea­tur­ing shows by Prince, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty and James Tay­lor. The cost of tick­ets for this se­ries of soirees? A cool $15,000 (¤11,100).

There are no tick­ets avail­able for in­di­vid­ual shows, so your $15,000 will get you a pass­port to what the or­gan­is­ers are billing as an “exclusive” event.

Be­sides the head­lin­ing her­itage acts, there will be art ex­hi­bi­tions, a kids’ area with PlayS­ta­tion bars, gourmet cook-outs and lux­u­ri­ous seat­ing. You can also bask in the knowl­edge that some of your money is go­ing to help a lo­cal school, al­beit a spon­sor­ship fund for a school in the very well-heeled Hamp­tons.

Most of all, though, po­ten­tial con­cert-go­ers can rest as­sured that they are sur­rounded by their own kind. The Wall Street Jour­nal reck­ons the au­di­ence will con­sist of “Wall Street ex­ec­u­tives, Hamp­tons so­cialites and the ul­tra-rich”. It is as far from the Ir­ish fes­ti­val ex­pe­ri­ence as you could pos­si­bly imag­ine.

For the acts in­volved, it’s all about the pay-cheque. Af­ter all, many are al­ready cash­ing in reg­u­larly on the private party cir­cuit which first emerged in the 1980s. Ge­orge Michael made a re­puted $3 mil­lion (¤2.3 mil­lion) for a New Year’s Eve show for a lum­ber ty­coon in Rus­sia, while Christina Aguil­era (be­low) be­came the $1.5 mil­lion (¤1.1 mil­lion) wed­ding singer in 2005. Oth­ers who have made out like ban­dits on the private party cir­cuit in­clude Aero­smith, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and 50 Cent.

The So­cial is part of a grow­ing trend amongst live mu­sic pro­mot­ers to tar­get high-spend­ing au­di­ences with VIP pack­ages and exclusive deals. Here in Ire­land, be­sides Streisand and her un­fea­si­bly large ticket prices, there’s the 02 Point Club which al­lows 100 VIPs a range of “mem­ber­ship priv­i­leges” at the Dublin venue for an an­nual fee of ¤9,500.

How­ever, few have been as brazen as the So­cial when it comes to pump­ing ticket prices sky high. Other pro­mot­ers will be keep­ing a close eye on what hap­pens in the Hamp­tons this sum­mer and, should the se­ries prove suc­cess­ful for all con­cerned, ex­pect plenty of copy­cat events to fol­low.

Ic­ing on cake for wed­ding singer?

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