“Shall we get VIP festival tickets?” A question most frequently asked by your mate whose parents still pay their rent and the lucky ones with too much disposable income. But for those of us without money to burn the real question is – are VIP festival tickets worth the extra dosh?
VIP tickets and their benefits vary from festival to festival. Each festival should have something unique and special to make parting with the extra cash a little easier.
But for this article, I am going to look at the things that all VIP tickets unlock and unforgivingly critique if it’s worth the money.
I think toilets are a good place to start. It’s possibly the most compelling reason to upgrade your ticket, especially if your heading to a five-day summer festival.
Anyone that’s been to a large music festival will have seen first-hand the horror stories that can happen in and around festival loos. From dropped phones and wet shoes to seeing what a stranger had for dinner the night before. And let’s not mention the photo we’ve all seen of the guy covered in sh…
For most of us, using the facilities at a festival involves standing in a queue for a minimum of half an hour. By the time you’ve finished your business, you’re close to passing out from holding your breath to avoid the smell.
But, somewhere not too far away there is another world of clean seats, mirrors, and air fresheners.
Most VIP tickets will grant you access to flushing toilets that are regularly cleaned and guarded by large security guards to keep out the riffraff. Some even have flowers in them, but that’s more likely to be at Latitude or Glastonbury than Reading and Leeds.
Another huge plus for VIP toilets is the lack of queues. The exclusivity that comes with spending more money means that you are much less likely to miss your favourite act stuck in a queue because you just can’t hold it in any longer. We’ve all been there…
Next on the list of VIP ticket treats are warm showers… Yes, I said WARM showers.
The lack of ability to clean yourself at will is what stops a lot of people from staying for the whole weekend at one of the UK’s many camping festivals. For most ‘general admission warriors’, a packet of baby wipes and a bottle of water acts as the preferred method of cleaning in the campsite.
While this is sufficient to ward off the flies and enough to stop your friends running away from you, walking past the VIP showers can be a torturous experience.
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A VIP ticket to most UK festivals will get you a warm shower that is regularly cleaned. ‘Pamper tents’ are now a thing, offering full-length mirrors, sofas, hairdryers, complimentary make-up and hair straighteners for those wanting to look their best before they re-join the crowds.
These will be fully staffed around the clock to ensure the highest of hygiene standards and to keep any general admission-ers from sneaking a free wash.
Finally, something that all VIP tickets should land you is a spot at a VIP bar.
The classic dilemma of wanting to stay and watch the music vs wanting to get more drunk is a familiar one. Some of us will have heroic friends that take one for the team by standing in line for an hour and then battle through the crowds with 4 pints in hand. While some us resort to drinking lukewarm beers that have been stuffed in a welly for an hour.
By spending some extra money, you will remove this stressful dilemma and be rewarded with easy to access boujee bars, with cocktail menus as long as your arm. VIP bars have great seating areas with comfy sofas and chairs for you to sit down, relax, and enjoy your drink without some dude in a bucket hat knocking half of it on the floor.
The ultimate VIP bar has great beers, good cocktails and no queues. It’s located right next to the main stage, close enough to feel the bass of the speakers in your chest. If that exists, then surely, it’s worth a bit of extra cash?
So, what does a VIP festival ticket cost you…?
A quick look at general admission vs VIP prices from five UK festivals tells us that you’re going to spend on average an extra £57.50 for better toilets, a warm shower or two, and less queuing at the bar. While £57 doesn’t sound like too much of a stretch, this puts some ticket prices from within the £200-£250 range into £300+. That’s a bit harder to swallow before you’ve even stocked up on cheap vodka, crisps, and an Argos tent.
So, is it really worth it?
I think what it comes down to is if you’ve got enough cash and how much effort each individual festival puts into making the VIP experience extra special. There is a big difference between a cracking VIP bar front and centre to the main stage, and one tucked away in a corner away from all the action.
Personally, I think that there is something special about the general admission struggles. Long queues, smelly pits, and the toilet breath-holding challenge are all character building. But I would be lying if I said I hadn’t looked enviously, sipping warm Rekorderlig, at the nice smelling people in the short queue at the VIP lounge bar.
And there are definitely worse ways to spend 50 quid at a festival…
What do you think… is it worth it?