The Dos and Don’ts of Festival Layaway Payment Plans

As many of you know, the option for layaway payment plans for pricey music festivals is increasing in popularity. The majority of festivals now offer this option, including headlining festivals like Coachella, Ultra and Firefly. So, is it worth it? Is this option an honest way for music festivals to make their live events more affordable, or is this simply a scheme to sell more tickets?

Before we get too technical, please take this word of advice: ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT. I know everyone tells you this, but taking a few minutes to do so could save you a ton money. Many people do not realize that if you miss, or are late on a payment for any reason, the festival can cancel your reservation and keep a large chunk of the money you have already paid. For example, if you miss a payment on Ultra’s layaway payment plan, they reserve the right to “cancel your ticket reservation…[and] will retain a $99.95 restocking fee”. According to LA Times, in 2015 Abigail Drake lost $617.90 of timely payments after missing a payment because her credit card was cancelled due to fraudulent charges. This resulted in a class action lawsuit and a mess of unwanted trouble. All of this is to remind you of what you already know: it pays to be vigilant of what you are agreeing to.

Once you have read and understood the terms and conditions, you must decide if the payment plan makes sense. With the exception of a small $10-$20 fee, layaway payment plans do not seem to be charging significantly higher prices than Final Tier GA tickets. With that being said, payment plan tickets can often be released as early as Tier 1 GA passes, yet with Tier 3 price tags. 

Continuing to use Ultra as an example, payment plan pricing in 2017 was $349.95, while Tier 1 GA tickets costed $299.95. So although payment plan options usually do not exceed final tier pricing, they could be higher than the current tier option.
The Verdict: Layaway payment plans are not the cheapest way to get tickets, but they’re also not a complete rip-off. They offer a great opportunity for people without enough cash at the moment to reserve a ticket and pay for it in monthly increments. Of course, the best way to get affordable tickets is through early bird specials – but it may be hard to motivate your friends to plan that far in the future. In that case, another way to score cheap tickets is to help promote the festival through apps like SocialLadder. You will be able to offer discount tickets to your friends and get some sweet perks in return!

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Andrew Kaufmann is an Intern at SocialLadder. He currently attends Swarthmore College, as a member of the class of 2018, and is also a part of the Swarthmore College Men’s Basketball team. In his free time, he enjoys taking black and white and action shot photos for the college’s athletic department.

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