ACL sale to offer students last-minute tickets

Megan Hix

After a quick sell-out of this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival wristbands, many students find themselves in a last-minute — and often expensive — scramble for tickets.

In ACL’s initial wristband sale in May, tickets were available for $250. Weekend one tickets took about a week to sell out, and the second weekend sold out in July. This year has been the fastest sell-out since the festival added a second weekend in 2013. Saturday’s “student day” sale will give students a final chance to purchase tickets.

ACL spokeswoman Sandee Fenton said tickets at the festival’s student sale may not last much longer than their online counterparts. Last year, all available student day tickets sold out during the first three hours.

“[General admission] passes sold out very early this year, so we expect a high level of demand during this year’s sale,” Fenton said in an email.

The weekend event is the last official sale of three-day passes before the festival and will be available for high school and college students, as well as members of the military. The wristbands, which will be available for a $25 discount, have caused crowds to line up in Zilker Park as early as 8 p.m. the night before, with many camping out to reserve their spot for the 10 a.m. sale.

For those who choose to find last-minute admission on websites such as StubHub, average prices for a weekend pass have been hovering around the $400 mark.

Compared to these secondary market prices, the student sale prices offer a more inexpensive alternative at $225 each, although they are an increase from the $200 tickets offered last year.

The sale also offers the chance to score tickets without the risk of fraudulent sellers or extra cost of buying online. Christine Rafie, a biochemistry and Plan II junior, went to the event last year.

“We really wanted to go to the second weekend, but we hadn’t bought tickets, and everyone who was selling theirs online and on Facebook was absurdly inflated,” Rafie said. “Since we’re in Austin and we’re college kids, ACL is such a big part of our experience. It’s a part of living in Austin.”

This year, Rafie said she decided to skip the cost in favor of cheaper options such as ACL late-night shows, and she said expects many other students will do the same, opting to save their money.

According to the Austin Music Census, Austin residents are less willing to pay for live music now than at any point in the last decade. UT students on a budget might not be willing to shell out more than $200 for a ticket.

“The people who can afford the inflated price, they’re probably not college students,” Rafie said. “We want to experience this, but it costs so much money.”

Anthropology senior Maddie Bair, who plans to arrive at the park the night before this year’s sale, said the discounted tickets are a good value for students wanting to see popular artists such as Drake or The Weeknd.

Bair said the sale helps students avoid having to make an impulse decision regarding tickets as soon as they become available, while still dodging the higher prices that usually come with waiting to buy a wristband later.

“The student sale is a really good opportunity,” Bair said. “Then you don’t have to order your tickets right when they go on sale — you’re able to think about if you want to spend that much money.”