Question posed in a short article in 'Set & Turn Single' magazine, May 2102, Issue 75.

Should folk festivals be increasing ticket prices rather then relying or increasing public subsidies?

Are festivals storing up problems for themselves in not raising ticket prices to keep pace with what must surely be rising costs? In STS 74 I outlined what local dance clubs might need to do to keep everyone happy.

The Sidmouth FolkWeek website emphasises that ticket prices have been held and there is no booking fee this year - so effectively tickets are about 10% cheaper than last year in real terms. But this is at a cost of an even greater contribution from Sidmouth residents - up from 5000 to 25,000 pa in only a few years as other 'public' funds dried up. Are both Sidmouth taxpayers and festival performers being squeezed just so that both the 'rich retired' and 'affluent middle' can indulge their hobby?!

At Chippenham I paid 82 in 2009, 83 in 2010 and 88 in 2011 and 2012. At Eastbourne it is a similar story, 95 in 2010 and only 97 two years later. Is everyone getting leaner and fitter?

Chippenham is explicitly helpful in saying that season tickets are now transferable, so if you buy one you can legally sell it or give it to a friend. At many other festivals it is a matter of bending or breaking the rules. Full marks to Chippenham for that, and to the festivals who state at the outset the cost of their 'early bird' and full price tickets. Others keep us guessing as to what the full price will be.

As fuel and other costs (and not to mention postal charges for STS!) rise remorselessly, pips may begin to squeak. Future adjustments may need to be dramatic. In the last four years chocolate has become 50% more expensive!

Stephen Wozniak

To read the entire 24 pages of Issue 75 which includes many controversial and illuminating articles, as well as a few irate ones, you need to buy an old fashioned vellum copy, for the modest sum of 2 (or 7 for 6 issues spread over the year). Prices include UK postage. or tel: +44 (0)20 8889 0634

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