During “The Great Coachella Facebook Status Epidemic of 2014” also known as January 10, I saw quite a few furiously frustrated friendlies fuss about their failure to purchase festival passes, undoubtedly sending them spiraling into a seemingly snail-less world of despair.
It’s no secret that Coachella is likely the most coveted music festival in the United States. Given the size and quality of the show, passes generally sell out within minutes of going on sale.
The process of acquiring passes for such a highly desired event can be arduous and frustrating, so in order to help some of you lost souls find your way to Indio this April, there are a couple of things that you should know.
I’m not here to complain about the price of admission or Coachella’s servers, which, during the sale period, perform as if they’re hosted in a community college computer science student’s garage. I’m not even going to complain about the individuals that buy two, three, four or more passes so that they can resell above face value (hey, I used to be one of them).
What I am here to do is tell you how to get Coachella passes for (or below) face value if you missed out during the initial sale period.
1. Wait, wait, wait
No matter how desperate you get, how hopeless it seems, wait it out. Seriously.
From an economic perspective, it’s simple supply and demand. There is a very limited supply and an even higher demand, which makes the product somewhat inelastic, meaning buyers are less sensitive to price change (to a reasonable degree). This is exactly what scalpers and secondary market sellers are expecting: you overpaying because there are no other options.
The easiest way to defeat this is by holding off until just before the show. How?
Look at it this way. There will be, at the very least, several thousand passes for sale made available via Craigslist, Stubhub, eBay, etc. The smart sellers will undercut the competition and look to make $100-$150 profit by capitalizing on your desperation. If you are okay with paying close to $500 for a pass, go ahead and snag one, otherwise, wait for the stubborn goats that won’t initially reduce their prices (pictured above).
The more people that buy, there will be less passes (and buyers), which means that scalpers will have to gradually lower their price expectations in order to complete the sale.
Why? Because the scalpers that bought one, two, or more extra tickets will start to panic and slash their prices so they can break even.
This is possible because of the addition of a second weekend and the fact that consumers as a whole are refusing to pay north of $600 in the secondary market. Remember, if people that undercut the competition have sold their passes, the people asking $600+ will have to do the same. The closer it gets to the date, the lower prices will go. The odds of there being at least ONE pass available a couple of days before the show at or very close to retail price is very high.
It should also be noted that a vast majority of scalpers are simply people like you and I looking to make a quick buck or ‘pay for their entry fee’, so to speak. They don’t do this for a living and their bargaining skills are average at best. Basically, you’re not dealing with professionals in many cases and by waiting, YOU have the leverage. If you make it seem like you have other options but want to buy from them, they’ll be more willing to drop their prices.
Thus, wait as long as you can, ideally until a week before the show, and the likelihood of you getting a pass for face value, very close to it, or even below (which I have seen happen more often than you would think) will be higher.
From experience, the best time to buy is three days before the show (or closer) because, as a last resort, people will just want to break even.
2. Ask Around
This is pretty self explanatory.
Every year, at least two or three of your friends buy passes and are unable to go due to unforeseen circumstances. These people are either looking to swap weekends or sell their ticket at face value to make their money back. Ask them. Ask if they know anyone selling passes. It’s not hopeless!
3. Buy passes after Coachella
About a month after the conclusion of each festival, Coachella has an advance sale of tickets for the following year’s show. Sure, you may be thinking to yourself, “there’s no way in hell I’m committing $400 to a show when I don’t know who’s playing,” and that’s totally understandable. But come on.
There are over 150 artists performing every year, odds are that there are probably 10-20 that you’ll want to see enough to justify the cost. Besides, Coachella isn’t just a music festival, it’s an experience, one that simply cannot be measured in dollars.
Okay, so you’re thinking, “cool, well that’s great and all, but I can’t afford it right now.”Well don’t despair, Coachella offers a payment plan that has you put down down 20 percent of the total cost ($70) and then six months of payments (no interest!), which amount to less than $50 each.
It’s a worthy investment. Look on the bright side, if you decide you don’t want to go, maybe you’ll get lucky and sell yours to some poor shmuck that hasn’t read this guide and will pay you $600.
Otherwise, follow the steps outlined above or watch Andre 3000 and Big Boi’s reunion on a YouTube stream, alone in your dark room, accompanied by cheap snacks and your own tears of remorse.