Concert fanatics of every generation have a lot in common (and not only that they all seem to be Dead Heads) but their experiences differ greatly.


Talkin Bout Their Generation

For this panel, Iwireless Center’s Scott Mullen and SAP Center’s Steve Kirsner rounded up hardcore concert fans of all ages, the kind who are willing to travel the world to see their 100th Dave Matthews Band concert.

Production designer Stephan Gosweiski, who joked that he was carrying “the weight of all the history that went before me” by representing the eldest baby boomer generation, remembers seeing Pink Floyd for free in a London park as a child and only need 2 quid for cab fare.

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Although the production quality might not have always been there in the early days, and the $3 ticket wasn’t sustainable, today’s ticket prices as well as the constant reliance on alcohol sales at shows means someone like him wouldn’t have had access to the things he is now so passionate about.

“If it’s going to be sustainable we need to create points of entry for young people. Frankly, we’re missing that,” he said. ‘I feel artists really do need to give back a little bit more … to do occasional free concerts, or whatever it is, something needs to be done to balance that out. We’re seeing a generation now that considers the basic music concert as something put on by rich people only for rich people because they could never afford $200 tickets.”

While there seemed to be no clear consensus on how or where to buy tickets, the panelists seemed to agree that prices – at least at face value – are mostly fair. The problem as music fans comes from those pesky fees and add-on charges. “The fees are just crushing,” said Tyler Blum representing Generation Y.

“Just tell me it’s a $40 ticket and I’ll pay $40. It’s like, oh, $35 tickets. That’s not too bad. Buy two tickets and it’s $120. You don’t feel like you’re getting more for it. It just feels like that bait and switch.” Panelists seemed to agree they would prefer an all-in ticket price from the start rather than having to wait until checkout to see how much it would really cost.

“I will always pay to go see live music. If I want to see them I will pay it,” admitted Justin Freels, representing Generation X. “I might be getting screwed, I don’t know, but if it’s a band I like, I’m going to pay it.”

And with today’s added production value, sound quality and top-notch venues, prices are hard to keep affordable.

“Prices are pretty on point,” said Kristen Hillenbrand also representing Generation X. “So much goes into each show that you’re paying pennies on the dollar to each person involved.”

And, despite any grumbling about the prices, fans seem to be usually satisfied.

“Even if I watched most of it on a screen and a woman tried to fight me, that AC/DC show was worth every penny of that $120,” Freels added.