Music festivals in China

Cactus Music Festival in Chengdu Under Fire for Overpriced Tickets

“Not even house prices increase this fast,” wrote a netizen about the music festival’s skyrocketing ticket prices

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Beatrice Tamagno Headshot
3:40 PM HKT, Fri July 15, 2022 1 mins read

Music festivals are, arguably, the most anticipated part of every 20-something’s summer holidays. With a rich landscape of live music events occurring during the warmer months of the year, youth in China are also prone to music-festival-induced excitement.

In recent months, numerous cancellations and postponements have occurred due to Covid-19 outbreaks across the country. However, cancellations aside, Chinese youth are even more bothered by the skyrocketing ticket prices for live music events.

One event, in particular, is under fire: Cactus Music Festival, which will take place in early October in the Southwest China metropolis of Chengdu, has received a wave of heated criticism for its steep increase in ticket prices.

Compared to the festival’s first edition in 2018, this year’s early bird tickets have almost tripled in price, going from 260 to 699 RMB (about 38 to 103 USD). Meanwhile, two-day VIP tickets are currently being sold for the exorbitant cost of 2,999 RMB (about 445 USD).

A Weibo user who compiled the ticket prices of 13 music festivals in China throughout the year 2022 has discovered that the average price for a regular single-day ticket costs a staggering 517 RMB (about 77 USD).

Music festival price hikes

At the time of writing, a hashtag related to the cut-throat prices of festival tickets has amassed more than 74 million views on the microblogging platform Weibo. A new hashtag for ‘Music Festival Assassins’ (#音乐节刺客#) — a reference to the recent controversy over overpriced ice cream that resulted in the neologism ‘Ice Cream Assassins’ — has also gone viral.

“Those in the entertainment world don’t understand the struggles of common people,” reads a popular comment on the Chinese microblogging site.

“Not even house prices increase this fast,” joked another user.

While some netizens have pointed out that the rising prices reflect the country’s economic growth and expansion of its middle class, others have argued that the pandemic, which has taken a toll on incomes, makes the tickets disproportionately expensive, especially in contrast with Chengdu’s cost of living.

Famous for its spicy cuisine and thriving hip hop scene, Chengdu was recently voted the third most livable city by Chinese youth, thanks to its affordable housing and laid-back vibes.

Cover image via Tony Pham/Unsplash

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