How early is too early to get festival passes?

Students express their views on summer music festival tickets already on sale. 

When exiting a music festival on its very last day, attendees can usually see a banner declaring the scheduled dates for the next edition of the festival. Not only that, but it only takes two to three months after the end of a music festival before the announcement of the following year happens. 

Montreal’s Osheaga, arguably the biggest and most popular music festival in Quebec, has been running an “exclusive” presale for its 2024 summer dates since early November. Green Day is the first and only headliner announced up to now. The 3-day passes are released almost one year in advance along with some “premium offers,” according to promotional emails, to welcome festival fans in getting ahold of them sooner. 

Some students at Concordia share their personal approaches regarding music festival passes being released recently for next summer. Mirra Lazarus, a psychology student, believes “it’s a bit of a manipulative, but expected, marketing scheme to get people to ensure they meet their sales quota.” 

According to Lazarus, acquiring those weekend passes provides a feeling of security and means that people have a stable event to look forward to. However, she adds that it is unfortunate if you don’t like the lineup since you have to stick with it or resell it in the end. Overall, Lazarus added that she would never buy festival passes a year in advance not knowing what the lineup is, even if they also make the passes cheaper in advance to get to that sales quota.

For communications and sociology student Adèle Décary-Chen, purchasing a festival pass way ahead of time includes more inconvenience than benefits. “It kind of limits me in my future plans, especially in the summer,” she said. Indeed, settling on very specific dates in the city that far in advance can reduce flexibility and get in the middle of any travel plans or short-notice situations that may come up. Chen said she would only show up to a music festival if she knew artists on the lineup to make it worth her money. Although this is common behaviour, there is always the possibility of tickets selling out by the time the lineup is released. More often than not, there aren’t any more passes. “That’s what happened for the Festival d’Été du Québec last summer for me,” she said.  

On one hand, securing festival passes in advance can be a way to confirm one’s attendance without the stress of worrying about potential sold-out dates. Moreover, folks tend to sometimes travel across the province, the country or even overseas to attend a music festival. Purchasing passes way ahead of time then helps plan for those special travels. 
On the other hand, the initial price of passes can even significantly drop closer to the dates if it’s not already sold out. People on social media might be reselling or a friend of a friend might be getting rid of their ticket last minute therefore making it cheaper, to increase the chance of selling it. Not buying months prior might then result in saving a couple of bucks. The reassurance of knowing the entire lineup of featured artists can also be a crucial factor in the decision, before dropping hundreds of dollars on passes.

After discussing with students, there isn’t exactly a better time to get ahold of passes. The decision caters and depends on how individuals prefer to organize their visits to festivals, whether they are located here or outside the country. It’s an undeniable matter of tolerance for the unpredictable and elements like the scheduled weekend, lineup, pricing, availability, and assembling your festival attendees group all play an important role. One thing is for sure, music festivals are settings people will always want to be a part of and Osheaga passes are now available for the taking.

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