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Which summer music festival is the best value?

on May 28, 2013, 6:57pm

acl festival wristband

We love to argue over which music festival offers the best lineup, but what if you went strictly by the value of its ticket? Recently, Nerd Wallet conducted a study to see which summer festival — Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, or Austin City Limits — offers the most bang for your buck.

In order to answer this question, Nerd Wallet formulated the “gross value” of each festival’s three-day ticket based on these three criteria:

  • What bands will a festivalgoer see?  We assumed that you would see bands on a main stage or the biggest side stage – the most popular bands.
  • How many bands can you realistically see in a day?  We assumed you would be in the park from the beginning of the day to the end.
  • How valuable is a band’s festival set? We measured a band’s value with average ticket prices from their most recent headlining tours. We also kept in mind that a festival set is often shorter than a regular club show.

Nerd Wallet goes much further into their methodology here.

After obtaining the gross value, Nerd Wallet subtracted the actual cost of the festival’s ticket in order to find its “net value.” And from there, they concluded that Austin City Limits, and not Lollapalooza or Outside Lands, offers the best ticket value. A three-day pass for ACL is $225.00; however, its net value is $631.36. On the other hand, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands’ net values are $550.87 and $621.94, respectively.

So, you really can’t go wrong with any of the three. However, Nerd Wallet does point to a few statistical quirks in each lineup. For one, Outside Lands’ value is due in large part to Paul McCartney, whose average ticket price alone is $154.33. If you’re not a fan of Macca, the value of the ticket goes down immeasurably. Meanwhile, Steve Aoki is the third most valuable act on the Lollapalooza lineup (his average ticket price is $72.88), while Lionel Richie is the second most at Austin City Limits ($95.54 average ticket price).

Read the full results of Nerd Wallet’s survey.

Photo above via RFID Journal